Solid Waste Management

Development In Waste Management

In the second half of the 19th century, a technological strategy for the management of solid waste began to emerge and gain traction. The United States was the first country in the world to utilize watertight garbage cans, and at the same time, more robust trucks were utilized for the collection and transportation of waste. The construction of the first rubbish incinerator in England during 1874 signified a major growth in the methods of treating solid waste and disposing of it.

This was an important step forward. At the turn of the 20th century, only about one-fifteenth of the main cities in the United States were incinerating their solid waste. Even back then, the vast majority of the country’s largest cities relied on archaic disposal practices including such open dumping on land &  in water to get rid of their waste.

During the first half of the 20th century, technological advancements proceeded, including the creation of garbage grinder, compaction vehicles, and pneumatic collection systems. By the middle of the century, however, it had become clear that burning solid waste in an incorrect manner and dumping waste in open pits were contributing to pollution concerns and putting the public’s health at risk.

As a direct consequence of this, sanitary landfills came into being as an alternative to the common practice of open-air dumping and as a means of decreasing reliance on the burning of waste. 

In many countries, trash was separated into two categories: hazardous & non hazardous, and distinct policies regarding its disposal were devised. The construction and operation of landfills were carried out so as to reduce the potential adverse effects on both public health & the natural environment.

In order to live up to increasingly strict requirements for air quality, manufacturers of new garbage incinerators built them with elaborate air pollution control equipment and designed them to recover thermal energy from the garbage they burned.

Instead of focusing on burning waste or dumping it on land, modern waste management plants in most industrialized nations are shifting their focus to the more environmentally friendly practices of recycling & waste reduction at the source.

Composition As Well As Attributes

Activities in residential, commercial, institutional, & industrial settings can all contribute to the generation of solid waste. The management of hazardous wastes is covered in further detail in the article of the same name. Hazardous wastes are defined as those that provide an immediate risk of harm to humans or ecosystems to which they are exposed.

Refuse and municipal solid waste refers to all degradable solid waste generated by a community that needs to be collected and transported to a processing and disposal site (MSW). Garbage and waste are both included in the category of refuse. The majority of items that make up garbage are food scraps that have decomposed, while the majority of items that make up rubbish are dry materials including such glass, paper, cloth, and wood.

The difference between garbage and rubbish is that garbage is highly putrescible and degradable, whereas rubbish is not. Rubbish is another word for trash, and it can contain anything as cumbersome as old freezers, couches, or enormous tree stumps. The collection and management of trash demands specific attention.

Even though it was not considered to be part of  municipal solid waste stream, waste from construction and demolition, also known as C&D waste or debris, makes up a major portion of total solid waste amounts (about 20 percent in the U.s).

On the other hand, due to the fact that construction and demolition waste is inert and does not present any danger, it is often disposed of in local sanitary landfills.

E-waste, also known as electronic waste, is a subcategory of solid waste that has been shown to be one of the most rapidly expanding components in many developed countries. E-waste refers to discarded electronic devices such as computer equipment, televisions, cell phones, & a wide variety of other digital equipment. The level of concern around this kind of waste is growing.

Lead, mercury, & cadmium are some of the materials that are of concern that can be found in electronic equipment; hence, it may be necessary for government laws to regulate the recycling and disposal of these materials.

The qualities of solid waste can vary greatly from community to community and from country to country. The weight of garbage collected in the United States is often lower than that of garbage collected in Europe or Japan.

Paper and paperboard products account for close to 40 % of the total weight of municipal solid waste in the United States, whereas food waste accounts for less than 10 %  of the total. The remainder is composed of a variety of materials, including scraps from the yard, wood, glass, metal, plastics, leather, and various types of fabric. 

The weight of this form of municipal solid waste is roughly 120 kilograms per cubic meter when it is in a loose & uncompact state (200 pound per cubic yard). These numbers shift depending on where in the world you are, the state of the economy, the time of year, and a whole host of other variables. Before any waste treatment  disposal facility can be established or constructed, the characteristics of the waste produced by each community need to be thoroughly researched.