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Waste management

Waste management is the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal, and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics. Waste management is also carried out to recover resources from it. Waste management can involve solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive substances, with different methods and fields of expertise for each.

Waste management practices differ for developed and developing nations, for urban and rural areas, and for residential and industrial producers. Management for non-hazardous waste residential and institutional waste in metropolitan areas is usually the responsibility of local government authorities, while management for non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste is usually the responsibility of the generator.

Methods of disposal

Integrated waste management

Integrated waste management using LCA (life cycle analysis) attempts to offer the most benign options for waste management. For mixed MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) a number of broad studies have indicated that waste administration, then source separation and collection followed by reuse and recycling of the non-organic fraction and energy and compost/fertilizer production of the organic waste fraction via anaerobic digestion to be the favoured path. Non-metallic waste resources are not destroyed as with incineration, and can be reused/ recycled in a future resource depleted society.


Disposing of waste in a landfill involves burying the waste, and this remains a common practice in most countries. Landfills were often established in abandoned or unused quarries, mining voids or borrow pits. A properly designed and well-managed landfill can be a hygienic and relatively inexpensive method of disposing of waste materials. Older, poorly designed or poorly managed landfills can create a number of adverse environmental impacts such as wind-blown litter, attraction of vermin, and generation of liquid leachate. Another common byproduct of landfills is gas (mostly composed of methane and carbon dioxide), which is produced as organic waste breaks down anaerobically. This gas can create odour problems, kill surface vegetation, and is a greenhouse gas.

Design characteristics of a modern landfill include methods to contain leachate such as clay or plastic lining material. Deposited waste is normally compacted to increase its density and stability, and covered to prevent attracting vermin (such as mice or rats). Many landfills also have landfill gas extraction systems installed to extract the landfill gas. Gas is pumped out of the landfill using perforated pipes and flared off or burnt in a gas engine to generate electricity.


Incineration is a disposal method in which solid organic wastes are subjected to combustion so as to convert them into residue and gaseous products. This method is useful for disposal of residue of both solid waste management and solid residue from waste water management.This process reduces the volumes of solid waste to 20 to 30 percent of the original volume. Incineration and other high temperature waste treatment systems are sometimes described as "thermal treatment". Incinerators convert waste materials into heat, gas, steam and ash.

Incineration is carried out both on a small scale by individuals and on a large scale by industry. It is used to dispose of solid, liquid and gaseous waste. It is recognized as a practical method of disposing of certain hazardous waste materials (such as biological medical waste). Incineration is a controversial method of waste disposal, due to issues such as emission of gaseous pollutants.

Incineration is common in countries such as Japan where land is more scarce, as these facilities generally do not require as much area as landfills. Waste-to-energy (WtE) or energy-from-waste (EfW) are broad terms for facilities that burn waste in a furnace or boiler to generate heat, steam or electricity. Combustion in an incinerator is not always perfect and there have been concerns about pollutants in gaseous emissions from incinerator stacks. Particular concern has focused on some very persistent organics such as dioxins, furans, PAHs which may be created which may have serious environmental consequences.


'Recycling refers to the collection and reuse of

Waste hierarchy

The waste hierarchy refers to the 3Rs of reduce, reuse and recycle, which classify waste management strategies according to their desirability. The 3Rs are meant to be a hierarchy, in order of importance. However in Europe the waste hierarchy has 5 steps: reduce, reuse, recycle, recovery and disposal.

The waste hierarchy has taken many forms over the past decade, but the basic concept has remained the cornerstone of most waste minimisation strategies. The aim of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste.

Some waste management experts have recently incorporated a 'fourth R': "Re-think", with the implied meaning that the present system may have fundamental flaws, and that a thoroughly effective system of waste management may need an entirely new way of looking at waste. Source reduction involves efforts to reduce hazardous waste and other materials by modifying industrial production. Source reduction methods involve changes in manufacturing technology, raw material inputs, and product formulation. At times, the term "pollution prevention" may refer to source reduction.

Another method of source reduction is to increase incentives for recycling. Many communities in the United States are implementing variable rate pricing for waste disposal (also known as Pay As You Throw - PAYT) which has been effective in reducing the size of the municipal waste stream.

Source reduction is typically measured by efficiencies and cutbacks in waste. Toxics use reductionis a more controversial approach to source reduction that targets and measures reductions in the upstream use of toxic materials. Toxics use reduction emphasizes the more preventive aspects of source reduction but, due to its emphasis on toxic chemical inputs, has been opposed more vigorously by chemical manufacturers. Toxics use reduction programs have been set up by legislation in some states, e.g., Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.

Rethinking Waste

The 3Rs are categories at the top of our disposal options. They include a variety of initiatives for disposing of discards. Generally, options lowest on the list are least desirable.

Reduce - to buy less and use less. Incorporates common sense ideas like turning off the lights, rain barrels, and taking shorter showers, but also plays a part in Composting/Grasscycling (transportation energy is reduced), low-flow toilets, and programmable thermostats. Includes the terms Re-think, Precycle, Carpool, Efficient, and Environmental Footprint.

Reuse - elements of the discarded item are used again. Initiatives include Hand-Me-Downs, Garage Sales, Quilting, Travel Mugs, and Composting (nutrients). Includes the terms Laundry, Repair, Regift, and Upcycle.

Recycle - discards are separated into materials that may be incorporated into new products. This is different from Reuse in that energy is used to change the physical properties of the material. Initiatives include Composting, Beverage Container Deposits and buying products with a high content of post-consumer material.

Generate - capturing useful material for waste to energy programs. Includes Methane Collection, Gasification and Digestion, and the term Recover.

Incinerate - high temperature destruction of material. Differs from Gasification in that oxygen is used; differs from burning in that high temperatures consume material efficiently and emissions are controlled.

Devastate - to discard into the natural environment, or to "trash" the planet. Includes Litter, Burn Barrels, Unnecessary Vehicle Idling, and Dumping discards onto land or into water.

Incentives for 3R

The 3R’s of reduce, reuse and recycle have been considered to be a cornerstone of ecological awareness and a way or promoting environmental balance through conscious behaviour and choices. It is generally accepted that these patterns of behaviour and consumer choices will lead to savings in materials and energy which will benefit the environment. In this context it may be enquired whether certain economic instruments may be considered to further strengthen these behaviours and choices.

In this context it may be enquired whether certain economic instruments may be considered to further strengthen these behaviours and choices. An example may be to reduce the sales tax or value added tax on goods that are made by recycling used materials, such as paper, plastics, glass, metals. Another example may be to reduce sales tax or value added tax on second-hand goods, which may include books, clothes, house-hold gadgets, bicycles, cars and automobiles, office equipment, medical and scientific equipment, telecommunication equipment, agricultural equipment, industrial and manufacturing equipment, boats, ships, trains and trams, aeroplanes, oil rigs, and so forth.

An additional approach may be to reduce the interest rates on the financial loans, which companies avail of, for their commercial activities in the recycling of used material and equipments.

It is plausible that this may have a significant impact on consumer behaviour, and may strengthen those sections of the economy and trade that are associated with such goods and services. Additionally, this would be consistent with supporting consumer behaviour and choices that are beneficial for the environment and for the economy.

Waste treatment

Waste treatment refers to the activities required to ensure that waste has the least practicable impact on the environment. In many countries various forms of waste treatment are required by law.

Solid waste treatment

The treatment of solid wastes is a key component of waste management. Different forms of solid waste treatment are graded in the waste hierarchy.

Waste water treatment

Agricultural waste water treatment

Agricultural wastewater treatment is treatment and disposal of liquid animal waste, pesticide residues etc. from agriculture.

Industrial wastewater treatment

Industrial wastewater treatment is the treatment of wet wastes from manufacturing industry and commerce including mining, quarrying and heavy industries

Sewage treatment

Sewage treatment is the treatment and disposal of human waste. Sewage is produced by all human communities and is often left to compost naturally or is treated using processes that separate solid materials by settlement and then convert soluble contaminants into biological sludge and into gases such as carbon dioxide or methane.

Radioactive waste treatment

Radioactive waste treatment is the treatment and containment of radioactive waste.

Human waste

Human waste is a waste type usually used to refer to byproducts of digestion, such as feces and urine. Human waste is most often transported as sewage in waste water through sewerage systems. Alternatively it is disposed of in nappies (diapers) in municipal solid waste.

Human waste is a biowaste and can be a serious health hazard, as it is a good vector for both viral and bacterial diseases. A major accomplishment of human civilization has been the reduction of disease transmission via human waste through the practice of hygiene and sanitation, including the development of sewage systems and plumbing.

Human waste can be reduced or reused through use of waterless urinals and composting toilets and greywater. The most common method of waste treatment in rural areas where municipal sewage systems are unavailable is the use of septic tank systems. In remote rural places without sewage or septic systems, small populations allow for the continued use of honey buckets and sewage lagoons (see anaerobic lagoon) without the threat of disease presented by places with denser populations. Honey buckets are used by rural villages in Alaska where, due to permafrost, conventional waste treatment systems cannot be utilised.

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waste disposal methods

J. H. Baker

From Yahoo Answers

Question:i have a couple of expired chemical bottles. I need to dispose them but the msds only says Waste Disposal Methods:DISPOSE OF IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE FEDERAL, STATE & LOCAL LAWS. Where can i find the disposal instrutions for these chemicals? Thank you!

Answers:There should be a phone # from the manufacturer on the MSDS, just call them and ask. By law the # should be there but, if you can't see it, do a search on the web for the co. phone #.

Question:Respected answerer, In our country i feel the wasted disposal management needs to be audited and systematised. Particularly the biomedical waste disposal needs a greater attention. even though incinerators are employed to dispose these biomedical wastes, only 50% of these biomedical wastes are properly disposed thro incinerators / waste disposal organisation. rest of the 50% are thrown/dumped in which causes too much of infections and are hazardous. Can you pls shed some light on this issue. Whom should be reported to or who can be approached to get a remedy? Even the govt hospitals are least bothered to dispose them properly. As a member of a service organization i would like this issue in the near future. So pls help me providing more information regarding waste disposal management authorities / Govt bodies etc.... Thanks in advance for helping us out. Luv.

Answers:Senthil, In India medical waste was considered a part of the municipal waste till the problems associated with medical waste were realized. There was no legislation on Medical waste till the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) proposed the first draft rules in 1995. Many amendments have since come through. The State Pollution Control Boards have been nominated as the Prescribed Authority for granting authorization and implementing the rules. (As per the second amendment, June 2000). The entire country now comes under the umbrella of the rules as 31 December 2002 was the deadline for the last phase of implementation of the rules covering all the health care institutions, cities, towns and villages nationally. please see the following link for full details. http://www.searo.who.int/LinkFiles/SDE_SDE_mgmt-bio-medical-framework.pdf I have extracted salient features alone below: Salient features of the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 The rules apply to all persons who generate, collect, receive, transport, treat, dispose, store, or handle bio-medical waste in any form. It is the duty of the occupier, where required to set up requisite bio-medical waste treatment facilities like incinerator, autoclave, microwave for treatment of waste, or ensure requisite treatment of waste at a common waste treatment facility. Bio-medical waste is to be treated and disposed in accordance with ScheduleI Bio-medical waste has to be segregated at the point of generation in accordance with schedule II before its storage, transportation, treatment and disposal. The containers are to be labeled as per Schedule III. No untreated bio-medical waste can be kept beyond a period of 48 hours. Prescribed Authority: The State Pollution Control Boards have been nominated as the Prescribed Authority for granting authorization and implementing the rules. (As per the second amendment, June 2000). Authorization: Every occupier, except those providing treatment /service to less than1000 patients a month, and every operator of a bio-medical waste facility, needs to take authorization from a prescribed authority. Advisory Committee: The Government of every State/Union territory has to constitute an advisory committee. The committee will include experts from medical and health fields, from the municipal department and other related departments. Annual Report: Every occupier /operator has to submit an annual report to the prescribed authority in Form II by January 31st every year. The report will include information about the categories and quantities of bio-medical waste handled during the preceding year. 6 Safe Management of Bio-medical Sharps Waste in India Maintenance of Records: Every authorized person shall maintain records related to the generation, collection, reception, storage, transportation, treatment, disposal and/or any form of handling of bio-medical waste in accordance with the Rules and any guidelines issued. Accident Reporting: When any accident occurs at any institution or facility or at any other site where bio-medical waste is handled or during transportation of such waste, the authorized person has to report the accident in Form III to the prescribed authority. Appeal: Any person aggrieved by an order made by the Prescribed Authority under these rules may, within 30 days from the date on which the order is communicated to him appeal to the Government of State/ Union territory Schedule I: Describes different categories of bio-medical waste and their treatment options Notes: Chemical treatment means using at least 1% hypochlorite solution or any other equivalent chemical reagent. It must be seen that chemical treatment ensures disinfection. Mutilation/shredding must be such so as to prevent unauthorized re-use. There will be no chemical pre-treatment before incineration. Chlorinated plastics shall not be incinerated. Deep burial shall be an option only in towns with a population of less than 0.5 million and in rural areas. The new guidelines rule against incineration as the disposal option for this category of waste. -------------- hope this helps.

Question:It is a long question. If possible, please add details. If possible, because beggars can't be choosers. I'd be thankful if you just wrote a sentence as long as it answers my question. Hell, I'd be thankful if you wrote a word. This might be redundant, but thank you in advance for the people who answer.

Answers:A very important question due to the fact that the current method of dealing with high level radioactive waste is to safely contain it or isolate it from the human environment. In fact to date, there is still no long term solution on how to safely dispose of radioactive nuclear waste. What the governments don't want us to know is: 1) Nuclear power is not as clean as they portray it to be. 2) Governments spend ten of millions of our tax dollars annually to promote nuclear energy as "clean". 3) Tritium a by-product from nuclear power plants is routinely released into the air and water as a gas,; no filtering is economically feasible. (Tritium is a carcinogen, causes radiogenic cancers, birth defects and genetic mutations) 4) Nuclear power is not sustainable technology. 5) Greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation due to uranium mining, milling and enrichment, transportation to power plants and storage facilities and storage maintenance is poisoning life on earth. 6) In the United States alone, geological data confirms that there are over 4,000 open pit and underground uranium mines, generating approximately 3 billion metric tons of toxic waste. 7) There is no safe storage or disposal solutions for the radioactive nuclear waste we produce on a daily basis. 8) Nuclear waste from spent fuel rods will remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years! 9) Nuclear power facilities worldwide are at risk of being attacked and or sabotaged as they make the perfect deadly weapon. 10) The term "Isolation" from the environment is relative due to the fact that radiation from the spent fuel will eventually be released into the biosphere over time. The extreme longevity of nuclear waste is the one reason why we should not be producing it at all. Until we discover a way to dispose of it safely or illiminate the waste completely a moratorium on the building of any more nuclear power facilities should be enforced. Much research and funding has gone into the finding a viable solution to the nuclear waste problem. Some of the proposals which have been very controversial and opposed have been; Disposal of the radioactive waste deep below the earths surface in mined repositories deemed geologically sound. This is the actual legal designated form of disposal to date, though it has not been demonstrated to be technically safe or infallable. There have been other proposals in the past such as, shooting it up into space and burying it up underneath the polar ice caps. One of the most troubling and insane ideas has been to bury it underneath the bedrock on the oceans floor. It would be almost impossible to monitor and it would take only one mistake to release and poison the earths oceans for millions of years. Nuclear waste has been kept out of the publics mind and out of sight for the most part. This is done intentionally to avoid any opposition or public "watchdog" reviews. It is the future of the planet that we are choosing to ignore when we let government and corporations take control of such an important issue. The nuclear power industry has only one objective, to make money! to promote their industry. The more nuclear power plants built, the more radioactive waste the earth is going to be contaminated with. Our future generations will be burdened with monitoring the millions of storage facilities littering the face of the earth.

Question:please specify various methods and steps.it will b great help if some links can be given