Industrialized nations are grappling with the problem of expeditious and safe waste disposal methods. Non-biodegradable and toxic wastes like radioactive remnants can potentially cause irreparable damage to the environment and human health if not strategically disposed of.

Though waste disposal has been a matter of concern for several decades, the main problem has been taking massive proportions due to growth in population and industrialization, the two major factors that contribute to waste generation. Though some advancement is being made in waste disposal methods, they are still not adequate. The challenge is to detect newer and unhazardous methods of waste disposal and put these methods to use.

What Is Waste Management?

Waste management is a process that combines all the activities necessary for managing waste – collection of garbage, transportation, and disposal of trash. Its primary purpose is to lessen the waste of unusable materials and avoid potential environmental and health risks.

The waste can be in any form – liquid, solid, or gas – but with the help of waste management processes, each state has its own disposal methods. It offers a variety of solutions to recycle waste, which ultimately leads to finding ways to recycle it as a valuable resource.

Containers for Waste Storage at Home

What Are the Benefits of Waste Management?

Let’s take a closer look at all the advantages that the process of waste management serves:

  1. Better Environment

    A clean and green environment to breathe in is what everyone wishes for, and waste management has a considerable contribution to the well-being of the environment and the people. Placing multiple waste disposals in cities will help the environment stay cleaner and maintain proper sanitation in the city.

  2. Reduced Pollution

    Waste management does not merely reduce waste from the environment but also eliminates the impact of harmful greenhouse gases like methane, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. This decreases the reliance on landfills for waste deposit that adversely affects the environment.

  3. Energy Conservation

    Recycling is a big part of waste management. One classic example of saving the environment with recycling is traced back to the practice of recycling paper. If the used paper is recycled, the need to cut down more trees reduces. This helps in conserving energy and reducing carbon footprints.

  4. Increases Employment Opportunities

    If more people start adopting waste management practices, it creates a need for organizations to sell recycled products. This creates several employment opportunities for people.

  5. Helps Create a Change

    Although you cannot completely get rid of waste, you can reduce the waste by recycling it through eco-friendly practices. This creates a classic example for people around you to adopt the change and embrace a more sustainable approach.

What Are the Methods of Waste Disposal?

Below are the seven effective methods of solid waste disposal and management:

  1. Preventing or Reducing Waste Generation
  2. Recycling
  3. Incineration
  4. Composting
  5. Sanitary Landfill
  6. Disposal in Ocean/Sea
  7. Plasma Gasification

How to Prevent Waste Generation?

Extensive use of new or unnecessary products is the root cause of unchecked waste formation. The rapid population growth makes it imperative to use secondhand products or judiciously use the existing ones because if not, there is a potential risk of people succumbing to the ill effects of toxic waste. Disposing of the waste will also assume a formidable shape. A conscious decision should be made at the personal and professional levels to judiciously curb the menacing growth of waste.

Preventing or reducing waste generation

What is Recycling?

Recycling serves to transform the wastes into products of their own genre through industrial processing. Paper, glass, aluminum, and plastics are commonly recycled. It is environmentally friendly to reuse the waste instead of adding them to nature. However, processing technologies are pretty expensive.

What is Incineration?

Incineration features the combustion of wastes to transform them into base components, with the generated heat being trapped for deriving energy. Assorted gases and inert ash are common by-products. Pollution is caused by varying degrees dependent on the nature of the waste combusted and the incinerator design. The use of filters can check pollution. It is rather inexpensive to burn waste and the waste volume is reduced by about 90%. The nutrient-rich ash derived from burning organic wastes can facilitate hydroponic solutions. Hazardous and toxic wastes can be easily rid of by using this method. The energy extracted can be used for cooking, heating, and supplying power to turbines. However, strict vigilance and due diligence should be exercised to check the accidental leakage of micro-level contaminants, such as dioxins from incinerator lines.

What is Composting?

It involves the decomposition of organic wastes by microbes by allowing the waste to stay accumulated in a pit for a long period of time. The nutrient-rich compost can be used as plant manure. However, the process is slow and consumes a significant amount of land. Biological reprocessing tremendously improves the fertility of the soil.

How Does Sanitary Landfill Works?

This involves the dumping of waste into a landfill. The base is prepared of a protective lining, which serves as a barrier between wastes and groundwater, and prevents the separation of toxic chemicals into the water zone. Waste layers are subjected to compaction and subsequently coated with an earth layer. Soil that is non-porous is preferred to mitigate the vulnerability of accidental leakage of toxic chemicals. Landfills should be created in places with low groundwater levels and far from sources of flooding. However, a sufficient number of skilled manpower is required to maintain sanitary landfills.

Disposal in ocean/sea

Wastes generally of radioactive nature are dumped in the oceans far from active human habitats. However, environmentalists are challenging this method, as such an action is believed to spell doom for aquatic life by depriving the ocean waters of their inherent nutrients.

What Is Plasma Gasification?

Plasma gasification is an environment-friendly waste disposal method. It is used to convert commodity recyclables extracted from municipal solid waste in landfill into energy. The carbon-based materials are exposed to high temperatures and converted to syngas, a gas that can either be directly combusted or further refined into chemicals and higher-grade fuels. The non-organic part of the waste is converted to slag–cooled, tightly bound solid waste which can be used in construction as a raw material. Industries that strive to achieve zero waste prefer this waste disposal method. Effective waste disposal calls for concerted efforts from all, no matter how anxious or worried they may be about our environment.

Also Read: 10 Ways Technology is Innovating Waste Management

How to Reduce Waste?

Here are the 11 Common Waste Reduction Tips:

Waste reduction is now a global concern as the overwhelming rise in carbon footprint is threatening human existence. The easy solution to this problem is to restrict waste generation through innovative means.

The prospect of having to successfully deal with trash may be alarming at first. However, if you can integrate the following waste reduction ideas into your daily routine, the problem will be easier to manage and a lot less stressful in no time!

  1. Reusing items: Certain daily utility items can be put to use repeatedly until they cease to be useful. For instance, plastic bags can be used in an assortment of ways and the dirt accumulated can be driven away by simple washing. Aluminum foil, glass containers, and plastic items also fall under this category. Scrap paper can be used for jotting down a list of items and phone messages among other things. Ideally, both sides of the paper should be used.
  2. Reduce the shopping overheads: It is logical to ignore retail shopping and instead opt for bulk purchasing in order to reduce the packaging mess. An emphasis should be made on taking packages that can be recycled. Teach your children about the environmental benefits of your decision and make the concept appear glamorous to them.
  3. Steer clear of disposable items: Start using only reusable and biodegradable products. Shopping bags should be kept in visible locations so that you remember to carry them. Have them laundered regularly to prevent the buildup of toxic bacteria.
  4. Use trash compactors: Invest in trash compactors that possess the ability to reduce the mountainous heap of trash into a highly compacted mass. You will be able to reduce pressure on the dumpsters and the landfills while saving the environment from excessive pollution. Trash compactors are highly recommended in commercial facilities and are now starting to find use in homes as well.
  5. Composting: A majority of trash has organic content in them. When disposed of at landfills, they gradually decompose and release toxic methane gas that eventually wears away at the ozone layer. Start collecting the food leftovers in a bin, dump it safely somewhere in your garden, and then cover it up with leaves or something of that nature. Make it a point to regularly add water to it. Soon, the nutrient-rich compost will be ready to be used as a fertilizer. Alternatively, you can also deposit the organic trash with the city’s compost collection center.
  6. Emphasize recycling: Make sure you adopt the correct procedure for recycling items. The local recycler should be contacted to confirm the separation and collection process pertaining to recyclables. If your city municipal has no provisions in place to collect trash, you should enquire about other available options.
  7. Purchasing used items: You can be less harsh on the environment by cutting out waste by using recycled products such as clothes, children’s toys, and furniture. Many online and offline shops offer attractive deals on such purchases.
  8. Creating arts/crafts: Instead of discarding the trash, use it to create arts and crafts that will step up the attractiveness of home décor.
  9. Donating unnecessary items: Redundant goods that are likely to end up in the trash can be donated to others who are in need of them, but don’t have the means to purchase them.
  10. Repairing items: It is prudent to get items repaired for re-use, rather than dispose of them the moment it appears with a glitch.
  11. Waste prevention forums: Joining waste prevention forums in your city will make you more aware and innovative in regard to finding ways to reduce waste generation.