An Introduction to Solid Waste Management


Management of waste materials is a vital service in every society. Before we go into the process we should begin by discussing the waste material that is being dealt with–solid waste.

Solid waste is the various garbage materials that result from human and animal activities, which are removed as undesirable and ineffective. Solid waste is produced by residential, industrial, or commercial activities in a region and is dealt with in various ways. Therefore landfills are generally classified as municipal, sanitary construction and demolition as well as industrial sites.

Waste is categorized by recyclable material, for example, glass, paper, plastic metal, and organic waste. Categorization can also be based upon hazard potential, which includes radioactive toxic, flammable, infectious toxic, or non-toxic materials. The categories may also refer to the source or source of waste i.e. commercial, domestic, industrial institutional, demolition and construction.

Whatever the source and content or the danger potential, solid waste needs to be handled carefully to ensure that the environment is protected by best practices. Because solid management of waste is a crucial element of environmental health, it has to be integrated into environmental planning.

North American Waste Generation: The Key Factors

  • It is believed that the North American region generates the most waste per person, which is 2.21 kgs per day that’s 4.87 pounds per year. The total amount of waste created during 2016 was estimated at 289 million tons equivalent to 318.7 tonnes.
  • The coverage of waste collection across North America is nearly universal in North America, with 99.7 percent. Bermuda is the only exception in coverage.
  • The majority of the waste that is generated in North America comprises recyclables, comprising cardboard, paper metal, plastic, and glass.
  • A little more than half (54 percent) of the garbage in North America is disposed of in sanitary landfills, whereas one-third of the waste is reused. 1

What is Solid Waste Management?

Solid waste management can be described as the practice that involves management of the generation, storage and collection, transportation or processing, and disposal of solid waste in a manner that best can address the wide range of conservation, public health economic, aesthetic engineering, as well as other environmental issues.

The scope of solid waste management covers financial, planning, administrative engineering, as well as legal tasks. Solutions could involve complex inter-disciplinary relationships between disciplines like public health, regional and city planning geography, political science sociology, economics, conservation, and communication as well as engineering, demography, and the material sciences.

The practices for managing solid waste can vary for industrial and residential producers, in rural and urban areas, and also for developing and developed nations. The administration of non-hazardous garbage in urban regions is the responsibility of local authorities. However, the handling of toxic waste is usually the responsibility of the people who produce it and it is subject to local, national as well as international authorities.

The Objectives of Waste Management

The main objective of solid waste management is to reduce and eliminate the negative impact of the waste material on human health as well as the environment, to promote the development of economies, and improve the quality of living. This must be accomplished efficiently and feasible, to keep costs at a minimum and avoid waste accumulation.

6 Essential Elements from the Waste Management System

Six components function as part of the system of waste disposal which is as follows:

  1. The process of generating waste includes all processes involved in identifying substances that are no longer useful and that are either collected to be used for disposal or discarded.
  2. On-site handling, storage, and processing The term “onsite handling, storage and processing” refers to processes that occur at the time of production of waste that facilitate collection. For instance, garbage bins are set up on sites that produce enough waste.
  3. Waste management: A crucial phase of managing waste, involves activities like putting up bins for waste collection, collecting the waste that is disposed of in those bins, and then accumulating trash in the area where collection vehicles are empty. Even though the collection stage includes transportation, this is usually not the primary phase of waste transportation.
  4. Waste transport and transfer Waste transfer and transport HTML2are the processes involved in transporting garbage from local waste collection points towards the local waste removal facility using large waste transport vehicles.
  5. Recycling and processing of waste The term is the term used to describe the equipment, facilities, and methods used to extract recyclable or reusable materials from waste streams and to increase the efficiency of other components in waste management.
  6. DisposalThe final phase of the management of waste. It entails the actions aimed toward the efficient removal of waste materials from places like landfills or energy-producing facilities.

Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM)

As the area of solid waste management develops the solutions are being examined more comprehensively and holistically. ISWM is one example. It is a growing concept in the field of waste management. It refers to the choice and application of suitable technology, management programs, and strategies to reach specific waste management goals and goals. It is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declares that ISWM is comprised of waste sources reduction and recycling, as well as landfills, and waste combustion. 2 These actions can be carried out collaboratively or hierarchically.

In conclusion, it is essential to point out that better solid waste management plans are required in a few countries. The majority of city-based waste and one-quarter of that generated in rural areas is taken care of. Globally there is a warning from the World Bank warns that global waste will increase between 2016 to 2050 by 70 percent in a normal business scenario. 3 Ongoing efforts to improve the system of managing waste are essential to protecting a healthy eco-friendly future for humans and the planet.


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