What is Waste Management?
To begin with, there are a variety of waste types: municipal (household, commercial, and construction waste), hazardous (industrial), biomedical, electronic (e-waste), nuclear, and so on. The collection, transportation, valuation, and disposal of these wastes are all part of waste management. It encompasses any operation involved in the organization of waste management, from manufacturing to final disposal, in a broader sense.
The main principles of waste management are:
- Waste hierarchy, based on the “3Rs law” of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycling, with waste reduction and minimization as the most desirable target.
- Extended producer responsibility, which includes all environmental costs, including end-of-life disposal, in the selling price of a commodity.
- A concept, which states that a waste generator is responsible for the waste’s proper disposal.
Waste Management Methods
Waste management techniques include:
- Biological Reprocessing
- Waste Collection
A landfill, also known as a garbage dump, is a location where waste is disposed of on the site. Landfills are the world’s most popular and least expensive waste disposal process.
Waste incineration is a method of transforming waste through the use of fire. Waste combustion can be a significant source of pollution in the air, so it is done in a proper facility and no open burning is done.
Recycling is the actual reprocessing of old materials into new ones, such as paper, metals, plastics, and industrial e-waste. Depending on the city and region, the type of material collected for recycling can vary.
Composting is the conversion and regeneration of organic matter into a stabilized, hygienic, soil-like substance rich in humic compounds. Anaerobic digestion is a composting-like process that uses fermentation to treat food waste and sludge in the absence of oxygen.
The collection of industrial waste is usually done by means of trucks, which go to the organization where the waste is produced to collect it. There are also collection equipment where a network centralizes waste, such as sucker bowzer.
A management process is assigned to each form of waste. Pre-sorting is required for proper waste management. This sorting allows for the separation of recyclable and non-recyclable waste, as well as the recovery of resources.
Waste management benefits
Sustainable waste management is a key concept of the circular economy and offers many opportunities:
Waste management involves collecting, sorting, treating, recycling, and when properly facilitated providing a source of energy and resources. Therefore, it has a huge economic potential that needs to be leveraged by public and private entities.
Besides creating jobs, improved waste management leads to a better quality of life for local populations, by improving hygiene conditions and reducing health risks related to illegal dumping and inadequate garbage collection.
The main advantage of sustainable waste management is to lessen the impact on the environment, by improving air and water quality and contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Besides, reducing waste also helps reduce the heavy environmental cost of producing more.