Waste management

What Is Solid Waste Management?

By definition, solid waste is a waste material that is composed of less than 70% water. It can be anything from kitchen waste to electrical waste. A huge part of produced waste is made up of solid waste. In fact, according to statistics, each person produces around four pounds of solid waste everyday. This enormous production has greatly concerned a lot of people primarily because if not managed well, solid waste will worsen pollution, spread diseases, and cause danger to human health and other living species. For this reason, the call to practice solid waste management has become more persistent over the years.

Solid waste management is the proper monitoring, sorting, transportation, and disposal of solid waste. In modern society, solid waste management efforts are backed up by different legislations and campaigns. For instance, collection programs, in which waste management companies pick up solid waste from households, are instituted by local governments and carried out in different communities. In places where there are no collection programs, residents are required to drop off their solid waste at locally established waste facilities.

But because a considerable percentage of solid waste comes from other sources than households, trash bins are scattered in areas with high passerby traffic such as parks and streets, to name a few. Industrial waste, on the other hand, is usually managed by the generators themselves. They usually have their own facilities for treatment and disposal of waste.

Once collected, a great bulk of solid waste goes to incinerators and landfills. These disposal methods, however, have negative impact on the environment, thus a significant percentage of solid waste is turned over to different treatment facilities. Recyclable solid waste, which often includes scrap metals, papers, glass, and bottles, undergo certain processes to make new products. To encourage people to recycle, recycle bins are usually made available in many parts of communities. Biodegradable or organic waste materials, on the other hand, are made into compost. Composting in some areas is mandated by legislation and in such communities, compost bins are provided to residents. Hazardous waste, or that which is potentially dangerous when disposed of like battery and fluorescent light, is also usually recycled.

Modernity paved the way to the massive production of solid waste. And this has become one of the many gripping environmental issues faced by the world today, especially because the problem in solid waste transcends the “now” generation. Whatever is done, or not done, to solve the problem affects the heritage of the next generation. In developed countries, solid waste management has become a priority and certain systems are fully operational. Same is true with some developing countries. However, many other countries need to catch up.

Truth be told, hardly anyone thinks of garbage. Once something graduates from its intended use, it is immediately considered trash, thrown off, and then forgotten. But solid waste management is everyone’s responsibility. It is not solely for governments to practice. Not only for businesses. And not for a few individuals.

Everyone makes waste and it is only necessary that everyone takes part in properly handling solid waste.

Waste Management Through Waste Minimization

Today’s waste management has developed several ways of waste disposal methods in trying to contain the ever-growing size of civilization’s refuse materials. Waste management through minimization of waste materials shows great promise.

This is because in waste minimization, control and management would go back to the waste producers themselves (individual persons, companies, manufacturers, factories) and not only on the waste materials.


Traditionally, waste management processes the waste material after it had been created. From there, other waste management systems take place: re-use, recycling, composting, incineration, energy conversion, etc.

Waste minimization takes the process one step further back. It actually is one system that includes the process itself and the policy of simply reducing the amount of waste generated to the barest minimum by the primary producer itself – a single person or a company.

Waste sources

The main sources of waste vary from country to country. In developed countries in Europe, most waste comes from the manufacturing industry, agriculture, construction and demolition industries. In developing or under-developed countries, a big part of waste comes from the households and society at large.

Waste minimization processes

The following are some of the waste minimization processes at work these days.

- Both waste minimization and resource maximization of products can begin at the design stage. A product’s number of components can be reduced to make it easier to take apart for repairs or recycling. At the design stage, a product may be steered away from using toxic materials, or reduce its volume.

- Minimization of waste and maximization of resources again go hand-in-hand in optimizing the use of raw materials. Patterns for a dress can be cut in such a way that there is a minimum of unused portions in the clothing materials.

- Another way is the reuse of scrapped materials back into the production process. In industries like paper manufacture, damaged rolls and other scraps are returned and incorporated again to the paper-making process. In plastics manufacture, cut-offs and other scraps are re-incorporated into new products.

- This is for products specifically designed for its intended use. Packaging materials will be a waste if for reasons of, say cost-cutting, the quality is reduced and the food it is intended to protect is spoiled instead.

- Through improved quality control and monitoring, the number of product rejects is kept to a minimum. Increasing inspection frequency and the number of inspection points via automated and continuous monitoring equipments is now integrated into existing systems.

- Shipping raw materials directly to the places of manufacture reduces accidents, less protective wrappings and enclosures and other safety measures and devices designed for long circuitous handling and shipment.

Benefits and other considerations

Waste minimization is related to the efforts of minimizing the use of resources and energy by way of fewer materials and efficient designs, for instance.

This also entails thorough knowledge of the production process, continuous tracking of the material’s life cycle from cradle (extraction/creation) to grave (waste). This is feasible in large manufacturing industries starting from the plants to the stores all the way to the consumer.

Today, waste management is employing waste minimization as yet another reliable ammunition in the fight against pollution and environmental hazards in the complex business of waste disposal and management.

Waste Management System In Businesses

In businesses, waste management is believed to be at the lowest part of the priority list, if at all it is a priority. But if you want your business to make an impact on the society and on the environment specifically, waste management should be part of your business priorities. In its own capacity, waste management system in businesses boosts profile, integrity, and profits.

Benefits of waste management system
Aside from having an orderly working environment, an active waste management system generates other benefits. One: Your business will promote environmental and social responsiveness and will therefore create a better image. Some companies are more interested working with businesses that are environmental advocates, and such businesses are generally offered various opportunities. Two: A waste management system boosts your employees’ morale.

It is given that employment benefits up the employees’ mood and morale, but environmental and social awareness does so even more. In an employee’s mind, environmental and social responsiveness speaks of the company’s integrity. Three: There will be savings and profits from establishing a waste management system. You can save and generate income by selling your old office tools or have the broken items repaired instead of throwing them away and buying new ones. Also, by having waste management policies, you are decreasing your chances of incurring law violations and therefore fines.

Waste reduction: A practical way of managing wastes
Businesses are generally huge waste generators, but you can contribute to waste management on a larger scale by incorporating waste reduction in your waste management policies. In essence, waste reduction efforts focus on the prevention of creating new waste by reusing and recycling materials. There are several ways to reduce waste in the office setting, and here are some of them:

1. Reduce the use of paper. If, for instance, you issue double invoice, you can probably try to settle with just one. You can also ask everyone in the office to print and write on the two sides of papers. Businesses use a lot of papers in a day, and if they are reused, there will be a considerable decrease in the amount of papers that are sent to landfills or incinerators. You can also cut down on your paper expenses.

2. Find new use for potential waste materials. The plastic water bottle can probably work as a vase. The cardboard can probably be some form of a décor. The thing is, before you label something as a trash, consider first if there is another use for it.

3. Repair office equipment, tool, or appliance. If a certain item, however, is beyond repair, you can dismantle it and get the parts that you can still use, recycle, or sell.

As you look around your office, you can come up with more ideas in waste management. For them to be more relevant, you can involve your staff and ask for their own ideas. After all, waste management system in businesses is not the sole endeavor of the employer; it should be a team effort.

Waste Management: Start Composting

Waste management is all about waste hierarchy or the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. There are too much waste being produced around the world, that different organizations and countries are being alarmed. Improper waste management could cause chemical spill, gaseous pollutants and pests.

But why compost? Landfills and incarceration could be a way to get rid of yard waste, but why bother with composting? Even though there are government agencies and private companies that collect wastes from homes and industries, landfills and incinerators are not always the best options.

Putting decomposing materials in landfills would be a waste of space and unnecessary. Yard wastes in landfill produce methane gas, a greenhouse gas that has the potential to explode. For example in Asia, Latin America and Africa, 40 % of methane emissions or about 37 million metric tons come from landfills.

Incineration or burning is also not a great option. It could result to air pollution, burning yard leaves are even said to have an effect on people’s breathing and even increase the risk of asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and allergies. In the United States, there are some states that have implemented a ban on burning leaves and other yard wastes. Environmental problems in Asia or any part of globe could really affect other parts of the globe.

To reduce wastes being produced, government agencies are encouraging home owners to do composting at home. For example, in the United States, Illinois are not collecting any yard wastes. This regulation is to encourage homeowners to recycle and start composting.

Organic materials can be used as fertilizers to enrich the soil, this is used as composting. With composting organic materials are sued like yard trimmings, food wastes and animal wastes or manure. Some would even add bulking agents like wood chips that would hasten the breakdown of organic materials.

What is so good about composting? Here are some composting benefits:

- The use compost is proved to be better is preventing plant diseases and pests. Using organic materials to enrich the soil is definitely better than using chemical fertilizers. Using chemical fertilizers could have some effects on crops which could have an effect on the consumer’s health.

- The use of organic fertilizers could also promote higher crop yield and effectively resolve soil problems after being dumped by hazardous wastes. They can effectively remove oil, grease and heavy metals caused by stormwater runoff.

- They are also proven to be more cost efficient compared with other pollution resolution technologies.

Farmers find compost to be very important with their crops and their yield. Landscapers also use compost for areas that they are landscaping like golf courses and athletic fields. They are also great for parks, median strips and other recreational areas. Homeowners also find compost great for their backyards and vegetable patches at home.

Compost as waste management is a great way to help the environment and reduce wastes. They also offer economic benefits since they are low-cost alternatives compared to other soil amendments. They are also a more cost-efficient method of revamping or remediating contaminated soil by different pollutants.

Waste Management Career Opportunities

Waste management is all about pickup, transporting and disposing wastes coming from households, industries and other institutions. Waste management has become an industry on its own. There are companies that offer services and haul your junk away. There are different jobs that different waste management companies offer.

Different waste management businesses would offer jobs as salesmen, customer service representatives, drivers, pickup personnel and field waste characterization specialists. They are very important in completing the kind of waste management services that homeowners and industry owners need.

What exactly do each waste management staff do? Just like in any kind of business, sales personnel makes sure that company services would be able to reach target customers. Sales personnel can promote waste management services online, on foot or through mail. Companies should also ensure that there are customer service representatives that would be readily available to help customers. Big waste management service providers and companies would have a number of customer service reps that would handle complaints, service changes, and upgrades.

Mechanics, drivers and service pickup personnel are also indispensable in a waste management company. There is a need to maintain trucks and deal with repairs and inspections. Again, the number of mechanics, drivers and other personnel would depend on the scope and size of the company and its service area.

There are waste management specialists who ensure that the business is following regional, state and national laws. There are different regulations that would ensure that waste management businesses would dispose wastes properly and would not pose any dangers to the environment and the community.

Waste management jobs are not only available in waste management businesses. Institutions like hospitals, medical clinics, and pharmaceutical laboratories would employ a waste management officer. Waste management officers would organize and manage waste disposal. They would also be responsible in monitoring waste quantities and at times spearhead a project on reducing and recycling wastes.

Government agencies would also have waste management officers. In the United States about .75 tonnes of waste is generated by an average American every year. In a city, imagine how many tonnes of waste is generated every year? There is definitely a need for an officer to implement trainings and programmes about waste disposal in communities.

A waste management officer would also need to have knowledge in collating statistics and compiling reports that would be submitted to senior managers or government agencies. His task would also involve budget formulation and control for waste disposal. They would also have to deal with investigating any claims about illegal waste dumping. Part of their responsibilities is spearheading research and developing environmental technologies that would help in reducing wastes.

It can sometimes be difficult to find west management jobs, you could start looking jobs in different waste management websites. Online employment sites are great places to look for job opportunities. You could also start contacting the local waste management department and ask if there are any waste management positions available. You could ask about the hiring processes and the requirements that are needed for the position.

Waste Management And Recycling: The Significance

Tons of waste are produced every year and are sent to someplace where they will either be buried or burned. But according to reports, 75% of produced waste can actually be recycled. Recycling, which is the process of creating new products from used materials, can be traced back from the time of Plato, when resources were scarce.

The practice was carried on to war periods until it became a significant part in the modern approach to waste management. But unlike before, recycling efforts today are not pushed by the scarcity of resources; rather, they are a decent response to environmental issues. Waste management and recycling, specifically, are attempts to preserve the environment and protect all living things. And as the environment is continuously being threatened by massive waste production, recycling is hoped to be a global endeavor.

Why recycle?
Landfills and incinerators are the most common destinations of collected waste. Although proven helpful in waste disposal, these two have been widely criticized for their environmental effects. Burying waste in landfills particularly allows for the release of methane gas, a type of greenhouse gas that is even more dangerous than carbon dioxide. Aside from that, landfills can leach other hazardous materials and may cause water pollution. And because waste materials are known to take many years to decompose, with some requiring hundreds to thousands of years, more landfill space are needed, which are becoming expensive and scarce. Incinerators, meanwhile, similarly emit greenhouse gas and other toxic chemicals that endanger human health and trigger global climate changes. Recycling responds to these problems by decreasing the volume of waste sent to landfills and incinerators. Rather than disposed of, waste materials are turned into something more useful.

By making new products out of used products, recycling contributes to the conservation of energy. Generally, it takes less energy to process an already processed material. For instance, the production of paper using recycled materials uses 40% less of the time needed to make the same product from virgin materials. This energy conservation also provides small openings for water and air pollution. In the same way, recycling significantly reduces the consumption of raw materials, which naturally contributes to the conservation of resources. Recycling a ton of newspaper, for instance, saves 12 trees.

But aside from the environmental benefits, the economical benefits of recycling are also one reason it has been practiced in many countries. On a national scale, recycling can create a lot of jobs that offer decent wages. And with the recycling industry becoming even more successful, more businesses are expected to grow and provide more job opportunities. Individuals, on the other hand, can make small business through recycling projects. They can create new products, such as bags and cards, from scraps and sell them for a small price. Selling scrap materials to certain organizations and individuals, who in turn will make recycled items for reselling, is as well a good way to earn money.

Buying recyclable and recycled products is also encouraged to support the recycling industry and as a whole to protect the environment. The symbol of three moving arrows on a product signifies it is recyclable. Such arrows represent the process of recycling: from becoming a waste to reprocessing to reselling. And this symbol coined the term “close the loop,” an accurate representation of waste management and recycling.

Waste Management And Recycling

Burning or incineration had always been the old reliable in waste disposal since time immemorial. Today, we already have waste management systems and several methods of disposing wastes: landfills, incineration, minimization, composting, and recycling.

Each of these methods has its own good and bad points in terms of efficiency, cleanliness in relation to the environment, and economic feasibility. There has not been a total winner in any of these waste disposal methods.

Recycling comes nearest because it is clean (no harmful emissions or toxic waste discharges) it is efficient (does not need big spaces) and cheap (little or no investments).

What is recycling, and what are its advantages over the other waste disposal methods?


In absolute terms, recycling is actually not a disposal system. It is the reuse of materials that had been disposed of as waste. Theoretically, recycling is the continued use of materials for the same purpose.

In practice, recycling is the extension of the useful life of the material, but it can be in some other form. Most of today’s recyclable materials are post-consumer waste (empty glass and plastic bottles, used paper and cartoons, etc.)

The most common items that are recycled in industrialized nations are aluminum soda cans, aerosol cans, plastic and glass bottles and jars, old newspapers and magazines, and cardboards or used carton boxes.

New materials

When paper is recycled, the fibers lose their length, thereby making it less useful for high grade paper (book or bond paper, etc). Most of them are used to make cartoons, low-grade newsprint and other low-grade paper products. Some types of plastic are composed of the same type of materials and are relatively easy to recycle into new products.

As an alternative to plain garbage disposal, recycling is useful in the sense that it does not add to the waste in landfills, and it becomes another material resource.

Resource recovery

Today, experts and the enlightened populace have acknowledged that simply disposing of waste materials is unsustainable in the long run. The supply of raw materials from nature is finite and cannot last.

In waste management, there is a new idea that considers waste materials as a resource to be exploited and used, and not the old concept of looking at them as a challenge to be managed or disposed of. It is called resource recovery.

Resource recovery can take different forms. One is the materials might be extracted and recycled accordingly, or some of them are to be converted into energy (electricity).

Costs and economics

Used materials have to compete with new materials in manufacturing. Most often, collection costs of recyclables are higher than costs of new materials.

However, not many are aware that it usually requires less energy, less water, and less other resources to recycle materials than produce the product from new materials. (Recycling 1000 kilos of aluminum cans save 5000 kilos of bauxite ore to be mined, and 95% of the energy to refine it.)

The economics of a successful recycling process depends on manufacturers making products from recovered materials and consumers buying these products.

Recycling is one method of waste management that is nearest to the ideal – less or no actual physical wastage, low costs, and no environmental damage.

Waste Management 101

Waste management is all about collecting, transporting, processing, recycling and disposing waste materials. Proper waste disposal is always needed to make sure that their harmful effects to the human population or environment are reduced. There are different kinds of waste management procedures when handling solid, liquid, gas and radioactive wastes. Aside from that, different fields like agriculture, mining, and healthcare have strict regulations to follow for waste disposal.

There are studies conducted showing that about 90 percent of wastes disposed every year mainly come from industrialized countries, which is about 325-375 million tons of toxic and hazardous waste. Countries are expressing their concern about the rising number of wastes being disposed every year. According to the United Nations, there are 60 percent of countries worldwide expressing their waste concern in the 1992 Earth Summit.

Improper waste disposal can cause big problems to human health. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) states that there are about five million fatalities every year because of diseases related to improper waste disposal. For example, stagnant water and pile of wastes in the backyard could actually be a source of dengue, tetanus or vermin related disease like leptospirosis.

Not all management practices are the same, industrial waste management would of course be different from household waste disposal. Urban and rural waste management are also different. Which why there are people who are primarily employed as waste specialists officers and whose job is to ensure that wastes are properly disposed.

Every county would also have their own waste disposal method. There are government agencies and local government units that provide waste collection services, they would often have partnerships with private waste management companies. For example, in Australia, every curb would have three collection bins like one for the recyclables, general and garden wastes. Households are encouraged to start composting to reduce wastes. This is the same waste collection done in Canada. In Taipei, households and industries are charged for the volume of their wsastes produced.

In waste management there is something known as the waste hierarchy or the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. This 3 Rs remains to be the basis of waste management programs, technologies and strategies being developed. Government programs implemented are based on these principles, for example in the United States there are states that would implement regulations of non-collection of yard wastes to encourage households to recycle.

Another program implemented by the government would be the extended product responsibility or the EPR. This is a strategy that would ensure that manufacturers would be responsible for their products after they were disposed by the consumers. The method used in Taiwan is also known as the Polluter Pays Principle. The polluter would pay for the impact of their waste on the environment.

Some industries find waste management and environmental responsibility good business opportunity for their own businesses. They report increased efficiency, energy reduction costs and even getting local and national government incentives since the government offers tax rebates for industries that would use “green” technology.

Waste Management – A Quick Guide

In the past, when life and the environment were simpler, all of life’s processes were taken care of by nature itself, including the processing and elimination of natural wastes. When man and society evolved, life became more complicated.

People’s needs for survival became competitive. As population grew, needs became more heightened, and material resources for everything had to be increased. Waste became an important item to be solved.

Disposal methods

Waste management is the collection, transport, and processing of waste materials. Generally, this is to reduce the ill-effects on health, the environment or maybe simple aesthetics.

The ill-effects of random and indiscriminate waste disposal had impacted on people’s health and the environment. This led to other practices of disposal that includes recycling and the recovering of resources.


In most countries, landfill is the most commonly-practiced of all the waste disposal systems. This is because it is the most inexpensive among all others. Properly managed and designed, the practice can be sanitary and safe.

Poorly managed landfills, however, produce adverse byproducts: leaching of toxic fluids into the ground, noxious odor caused by organic breakdown, destruction of surface vegetation, and the production of greenhouse gases.


This waste disposal method involves the combustion of waste materials (sometimes called “thermal treatment”) producing heat, gas, steam and ashes. Usually, this is used to dispose of hazardous waste materials (like dangerous wastes from hospitals). What makes it questionable is the fact that it releases gas pollutants.

In some countries, the heat generated in incinerators is used as energy to generate in turn steam and electricity.


Plastics, glass, PVC and those made of the same materials are collected and recycled into new products. In progressive countries like Australia, recycling is successfully implemented by the government and the cooperation of more than 90% of the population.


In composting, organic waste materials (food scraps, paper, and other bio-degradable materials) are decomposed in a controlled environment. Organic end-products are used as fertilizers, mulch soil, etc. Waste gas (methane) is captured to generate electricity.

Waste reduction

This campaign is being vigorously pushed in many industrialized countries. People are encouraged to reuse second-hand products, repair broken items, avoiding disposable products, and designing new products that can be refillable or reusable.

Waste hierarchy

This is the three Rs in waste management concept – reduce, reuse, recycle. Today, it still remains a potent cornerstone in waste minimization strategies. The simple concept is to maximize a product’s benefits and generate the most minimum of waste from it.

Awareness campaign

Seen from a global perspective, educational awareness campaigns in waste management are becoming crucial. Several schools and universities have adapted the Taillories Declaration into their curricula.

The Tailloires Declaration is about the speed of environmental degradation caused by pollution and depletion of natural resources. It details the perils as well as the means to combat this very imminent global danger.

Other waste management concepts

These include EPR or extended producer responsibility which means they are also responsible for their products not only during manufacture but also after use.

The PPP (Polluter Pays Principle) means the producer of a pollutant will have to pay. In waste management, this is the requirement of a waste generator for the proper disposal of waste.

As the world becomes more and more industrialized and consumption of resources increases, so will the production of waste increases. Waste management is a crucial concern for everyone.

Vermicompost And Waste Management

Numbers will show you how much the world has gone to the dumps. An average American would have about .75 tons of trash every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Most of the world’s waste came from industrialized countries. These countries have waste management laws, especially for hazardous wastes, but still experience problems with dumpsites and waste disposal.

Solving waste management problems do not have to take you anywhere else, you could start solving trash problems at home. Small contributions like this could go a long way. About 25 percent of our wastes are yard trimmings or food scraps. Although, a lot of people are learning to recycle and reuse plastic, metal, glass and other similar items, biodegradable stuff are nearly not recycled at all.

A great way to recycle food scrap is having a compost bin or by vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is another way of composting. Worms are used in the process to produce vermicompost, a rich soil which is a great way to fertilize a garden. There are different kinds of worms used in vermicomposting, like the red worms, white worms, and earthworms. These worms would produce vermicast which are worm castings or worm humus. Worms used in vermicomposting can be available from vermicompost enthusiasts or from a supplier.

Worms can be eat a lot of your food scraps and wastes, like vegetables, fruits, coffee grounds, tea, and even eggshells. However, avoid feeding them with bones, dairy products, spicy food, oily food and animal manure. Beddings for vermicompost bins can also be made out of household materials like newspaper and cardboard.

Different type of containers could work, as long as they would protect the worms from too warm or cold weather conditions. Worms are comfortable in temperatures ranging from 55 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Most commonly used bins are those made of wood or plastic. A 12-inch deep compost bin can accommodate about a pound or 1,000 worms. Odour does not have to be a problem. A vermicompost bin which is done properly will not give out any smell.

There are many benefits associated with vermicompost. The vermicast is 10 to 20 higher in nutrients compared with other organic material used to enrich soil. It can also improve the soil’s water holding capacity. Enriching the soil could enhance plant growth and the crops yielded. If you have a vegetable patch, this would be a great way to reduce food waste and increase productivity from your patch using chemical-free fertilizers.

In the United States, there are states like Illinois, who are banning landscape waste in landfills. Vermicomposting is a great way to address disposal of these kinds of waste. Aside from that, there are some who would use vermicomposting as another source of income. They would sell vermicast, it is often times called “Black Gold” because of its high nutrient content. Others would supply worms to fishermen or become a local supplier.

Using vermicomposting as a waste management method for food scraps and other biodegradable materials at home is surely a win-win solution. You get to reduce waste and benefit from it, whether it is short term or in the long run.