Waste management

Waste management is the process by which the waste products emerging from the daily human activities are collected, segregated and then processed. Human activities in a day produce a large amount of waste. Wastes is to be managed effectively to preserve the environment and protect the natural resources.

This management helps in recycling of the waste into useful products for utilization. Collection:

This process involves collecting the waste materials from the residential areas and dumping in the landfills.  Landfills is vast piece of abandoned land far away from residential localities.  The waste materials collected is dumped in these places, from where they can be utilized for future activities.

Segregation of waste is done in to three categories namely recyclable, non-recyclable, and hazardous waste. Basic segregation of waste should start from the home itself.

Recycling :
Recyclable waste can then be transported to various industries to produce different products from them. Some example of this waste is paper, glass and wood. Hazardous waste materials are either dumped deep in the landfills, so as to reduce any harmful effect on the environment.

Find out more about recycling here.

Energy recovery:
Biogas is produced from the organic waste such as dead plants, kitchen waste and animal fecal matters. These types of fuel are used for heating purpose in the boiler or for cooking in the kitchen.

Find out more about biomass programs by clicking here.

In summary, waste management helps in decreasing the consumption of natural resources and protects the environment.

Having a successful career in waste management

For a successful career in waste management, a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences or waste management provides a good head start. However, your ability to succeed as a waste management expert or professional relies on continuing education and certification. This will ensure that you are updated on the latest rules and laws of the industry. There are online consultants and programs that offer the training that is required for licensing and certification, while distance learning programs and local colleges offer courses that enable you stay updated. Management of dangerous materials such as medical waste, hazardous waste or radioactive wastes requires more specific training.

Education on waste management does not end when you obtain a degree in environmental engineering. You have to continue with networking, continuing education and professional certification so as to expand your business practices and professional knowledge base. On top of these, you should ensure that you attend seminars on waste management to provide you with more courses on continuing education which will enable you to learn more industry practices.

Students from abroad who study at an overseas university and attend overseas seminars and conferences need international student insurance to cover potential health costs and medical bills.


Waste Management Companies

Public Waste Management companies are available in all countries offering the disposal of waste from businesses in an environmentally friendly manner. Managing waste the proper manner is crucial and experts assess the waste streams of businesses and develop the correct disposal and recycling solutions to business owners and home owners.

Online websites will guide you to pick the correct and suitable waste management service for your area. Online services enable you to request the correct service with easily navigated website. Individuals choose their industry by category such as Construction, Municipalities, Sustainable services, Industrial, Manufacturing, Commercial, Food & Retail, and more. Home pickups can be by Bagster bag, Recycle by Mail, Dumpsters or Curb side Pickup.
Some of the Top Waste Management Companies in the USA includes:
• Waste Industries USA delivers services in the energy and environmental sectors and a solid waste company. Areas covered are Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. They cater for the needs of individuals, industrial businesses, commercial sector in collection, transportation and disposal and recycling of waste.
• Waste Management Inc. offers services to North America, Canada and Mexico. Undoubtedly are they the largest recycling company in North America and serve a customer base of over 20 million, offering services to commercial and municipalities as well as industrial. Waste Age 100 lists the top and largest waste management companies annually and for the last 4 years running they still remain the largest.
• Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. is experts in harnessing environmentally sound and safe conversion of solid waste generated in municipal sectors. Services are also provided in waste collection, transportation of waste, processing of waste always using environmentally sustainable techniques.
Some of the other large companies as listed by Waste Age 100 as the largest recyclers of waste in the U.S. are:
Republic Services Inc.
Clean Harbors
Veolia Environmental Services North America Corp
Progressive Waste Solutions
Stericycle Inc.
Covanta Energy Corporation
Waste Connections Inc.
Recology Inc.
Rumpke Consolidated Companies Inc.
Casella Waste Systems Inc.


Recycling Laws in the USA

Approximately 360 million tonnes of garbage are produced in America, is what a recent survey states. Solid waste is estimated at 100 million tonnes recycled per year and increases yearly. The Waste Management Law does not play a big role in resource recovery and resource conservation. The recovery rate is only about 30% and significantly less than most other countries. Market forces drove the managing waste by recycling before the solid waste legislation of state and federal laws.
Paper drives was often held in the collection of paper and scrap metal dealers bought metal scrap before solid waste law was implemented. Waste management is regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and covers a recycling legislation and solid waste legislation. Open dumps are abolished and guidelines are set in place for managing waste, both solid and hazardous waste management.
Recycling was still not encouraged earlier despite the title RCRA carried and they concentrated more on waste management than recycling. During the 1980’s the two states, New Jersey and Rhode Island took a comprehensive approach towards recycling as they had a shortage of land available for landfilling of solid waste and hazardous waste materials. In the 1990 Rhode Island even built a special facility for the processing of recyclables. Other states followed suite and the state legislation stipulated that recycling must fall into different categories, namely, providing recycling opportunities to states, planning for recycling or mandatory source separation.
Many states however do not fit into any one of those three categories, such as Wisconsin without any recycling goals. Landfilling is instead banned and the State rewards governments with good recycling habits, without making it a law. A national recycling goal was set at a very low 35%, with some states such as Massachusetts reaching an astonishing 70% of recycled waste. Other state goals are set at 50% recycling of waste in order to drive all states in the US to actively participate in waste recycling for proper, economical, efficient and safe waste management.


Hazardous Solid Waste and Management

Waste is declared hazardous if the potential exists to be harmful or dangerous to the environment or human health. It can be sludge’s, gases, solids or liquids and discarded from industrial, commercial or household products. It includes pesticides, cleaning materials, electronics, paints, oils or by-products during a manufacturing product or process. Waste management methods are specialized and different to the processing of non-hazardous waste. Different types of Hazardous Solid Wastes are:
• Household Hazardous waste – Includes leftover and used household products containing reactive, ignitable, toxic and corrosive constituents. Light bulbs, pesticides, batteries, cleaners, paints, oil and medical waste are examples. Managing waste that contains potentially hazardous ingredients are specialized and different collection methods are used as specified by the EPA.
• Industrial Hazardous Waste – Industrial facilities, processing units, manufacturing plants, maintenance units, workshops, chemical plants and nuclear facilities all falling under the category. It gets broken down into four different list in regards to safety of removal and disposal of waste:
? F-list – managing waste generated from manufacturing or industrial processes and usually no specific source waste.
? K – list – managing waste from industrial such as wood treatment, petroleum refining, inorganic pigment of chemicals, pesticide manufacturing, veterinary pharmaceuticals, metal production plant and coke production.
? P –list and U –list – Commercial chemical products intended to be discarded or discarded with container residues, listed generic names, and off-specification species or spill residues. P – List is acute hazardous waste and U- list contains toxic waste. The Hazardous Waste Listings lists the full list of which falls under what category or list.
• Universal Waste – Mercury-containing products, pesticides, batteries and light bulbs are declared as universal waste to streamline waste management to facilitate proper storage, collection, treatment and disposal. This will increase recycling and recovery rates and reduce the use of incinerators and use of landfills.
• Characteristic Waste – Specific characteristics of corrosiveness, toxicity, ignitability and reactivity defines the waste management of lead and mercury for example. Toxic wastes, gases, explosives and lithium-sulphur batteries falls under this category as it may be harmful when ingested or inhaled.
• Mixed Waste – Managing waste that contain hazardous and radioactive components make regulation complicated. Mixed waste falls under three categories which are Low Level Mixed, High Level Mixed and Mixed Trans Uranic Waste. This usually comes from nuclear power plants, medical diagnostic testing, biotechnology development, pharmaceutical development, hospitals and pesticide research.


Solid Waste Policy and types of Non-Hazardous Solid Waste

These types of policies are essential in the effective management of waste and inputs are taken into consideration from government agencies, businesses, research organisations, citizens, community organisations and stakeholders. Environmental departments of all states in the U.S. are encouraged in the development and implementation of waste management.
Solid waste used to refer only to non-hazardous waste, but state regulations and (RCRA) Resource Conservation & Recovery Act identify hazardous waste under the same policy. Different types of non-hazardous solid waste are:
• Municipal Solid Waste – this includes not only household garbage, but also horticulture, road sweeping, commercial waste and institutional entities.
• Animal and Agricultural Waste – crop residue after harvest as well as secondary residues from fibre, feed and food production. Animal waste includes production operation waste, dead animals, wastewater, manure and urine and all waste generated from feedlots and farms. The mismanagement of animal waste causes environmental problems such as water pollution.
• Industrial Waste – Iron and steel, organic and inorganic chemicals, clay, stone, plastics and resins, concrete, glass, food, paper and pulp. The waste management of industrial waste are processed differently and apart from municipal solid waste as it is processed separately of landfilled.
• Treatment Waste – consists of metal scraps, coproducts, by-products or sludge. Sludge can be solid, liquid or semi-solid waste from municipal, industrial or commercial wastewater plant, air pollution facility or water supply treatment facility. Electric arc furnace dust is included as treatment waste. Scrap metal includes, scrap mobiles, machine shop turnings, metal tanks, containers, wire and sheet metal.
• Construction and Demolition Waste – All debris from demolitions, renovations and construction of roads, buildings and bridges. It is often heavy materials and proper waste management procedures must be adhered to for the improvement of resources.
• Medical waste – materials from all health care facilities and includes funeral homes, blood banks, veterinarians, dentists physicians’ offices and laboratories.
• Special Waste – it has its own category because of human an environmental risks involved and includes; fossil fuel combustion, uranium waste, phosphate rock mining waste, gas and oil drilling oil production brine and muds, mining waste and cement kiln dust.



Almost 73% of the dioxins emitted to air in Ireland came from the uncontrolled, low temperature burning of waste. This makes backyard burning of waste the single biggest source of dioxins released into the Irish environment.


If you are burning your waste at home, you need to STOP!

Many people in Ireland burn waste on their own property. The materials burned are varied and include paper, cardboard, textiles, timber, food, garden clippings, synthetics such as plastic and even glass, metal and household chemicals. This ‘backyard burning’, as it is known, is mistakenly seen as a cheap method of keeping waste out of already overflowing landfills and many presume that it is not harmful to the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Practically all uncontrolled low temperature burning of waste releases toxic pollutants directly into the air without treatment or filtering. This is one of the major sources of some pollutants impacting on air quality in Ireland today.


If this is what you believe then you need to read on.

Uncontrolled, low temperature burning of municipal waste can impact on human health, food safety and the environment. In fact this uncontrolled “backyard burning” of municipal waste is far more damaging than previously thought.

Current research indicates that when municipal waste is burned, in piles in the open, in barrels or open pits, or in commercially available home incinerators, toxic pollutants are released into the air.



Landfill sites are licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and inspected regularly to ensure that activities on site are compliant with licence conditions. Results of these inspections are made available to members of the public by contacting EPA headquarters.

Landfill operators are also required to monitor a number of parameters relating to the operation of the site such as landfill gas and leachate control systems and groundwater. These are reviewed at site inspections.

Waste that is collected for disposal at landfills may be taken directly to a landfill or may betransported to a transfer station for baling or repackaging with other waste into large vehicles before eventually being taken for disposal. Once at the landfill the vehicles are usually weighed and the weight and type of waste in each load is noted. This information helps to ensure effective management of the site and to minimise the potential for environmental pollution. After weighing, the vehicles are emptied into the area of the landfill that is being filled and all vehicle wheels are washed when leaving the site. Material is placed in a modern landfill on a cell by cell basis, as this makes it easier to control odours, litter and pests. At the end of each day, the deposited waste is covered with a material such as soil to limit the potential for pest infestation and littering of the surrounding areas. Other pest control measures can include keeping birds-of-prey on site to control birds and rodents.



Landfill is the controlled deposit of waste to land and although it is the least preferred option in the waste hierarchy, it is an important part of the overall integrated waste management system being developed in Ireland.

Landfill remains the predominant waste management practice in Ireland. An estimated 6,438,085 tonnes of municipal waste was consigned to landfill in Ireland in 2004. In 2004, there were 34 authorised landfills operating in Ireland compared with 126 in 1998. This is indicative of the Government policy of reducing landfill numbers to a smaller network of state of the art facilities.

Each landfill is licensed to accept only certain types of waste. The types of waste that can be disposed of vary, from those that can accept only inert wastes such as bricks and concrete to those that can accept a wide range of wastes including household, commercial and industrial waste. Ireland does not at present have any landfills that take hazardous waste.

Overall, national policy aims to dramatically reduce our reliance on landfill, and challenging targets have been set for recycling and for the diversion of biodegradable waste away from landfill. The changing waste management practices arising from efforts to meet these targets will result in less waste being disposed to landfill, without at least some form of pre-treatment. Despite this, there will always be some material that cannot be recycled or managed in any other way and for which landfill represents the most environmental and cost effective means of disposal.


The determination to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and to encourage recovery, recycling and reduction led to the introduction of the landfill levy in June 2002.

The levy has been introduced to ensure that the price of landfill waste disposal more closely reflects its environmental impact. The current levy is €15 per tonne but there are provisions which will allow this to be increased in the future.




Materials that were once part of a living organism will slowly rot if the conditions are right. These are called “biodegradable” wastes. Composting and anaerobic digestion are methods of controlling (and speeding up) this decomposition process.


We have a major waste challenge in Ireland. We all produce too much waste – every Irish home produces over a tonne of waste each year. Biological Treatment, which includes processes such as composting and anaerobic digestion could be the first step to meeting this waste challenge.

Separating organic waste from dry recyclables (paper, card, plastic, etc.) is an important first step in the process of reducing Ireland’s dependence on landfills.

According to a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) survey, organic waste (i.e. food and garden waste) constitutes the single largest component of household waste, accounting for 36% of the total. When organic waste is mixed with other household waste, the combined waste becomes odourous, wet, and difficult to handle. Nor can it be recycled as the waste streams are mixed or contaminated. When organic waste goes into a landfill it begins to break down and creates methane (a significant greenhouse gas) and leachate (waste contaminated water), both of which require careful environmental management.



Bottle banks are found in many supermarket car parks and local authority areas and usually have separate compartments for clear, green and brown glass. Blue glass can be put into the green bank and clear glass with coloured coatings can be put into the clear bank as the coating will burn off. The labels on bottles and jars will be removed during the recycling process, however remove as many plastic or metal rings and tops as possible. Only recycle bottles and jars – never light bulbs, window or sheet glass or Pyrex type dishes as these are made from a different type of glass.

Almost a quarter of all household waste and a half of all commercial waste in Ireland is paper. Newspapers, magazines, junkmail cardboard packaging can all be recycled either through kerbside collection or through local bring centres. Packaging such as milk and juice cartons cannot be recycled as paper as they have a plastic lining which would contaminate the process.

Aluminium and steel cans
Many local authorities have mixed can banks accepting both aluminium and steel cans, although some have aluminium-only banks as uncontaminated aluminium has a higher value. Try to crush drinks cans before recycling, either with a can crusher or by squashing them underfoot. .

All charity shops accept unwanted clothing, which is then sold in charity shops, given to the homeless or sent abroad. Even damaged or un-wearable clothing can be converted into items such as wiping cloths, shredded for use as filling for items such as furniture or car insulation or rewoven into new yarn or fabric. If you deposit shoes, tie them together as they tend to go astray! Some local authorities provide separate textile collection at some of their bring centres.

Plastic is a difficult material to recycle as there are many different types of plastic (often indicated by a number, or letters such as PET or PVC). The variation in plastic types means that different reprocessing techniques are required. The different types of plastic therefore need to be collected separately or sorted after collection, as reprocessors will specify which type of plastic they will accept. Plastic in household waste is often food packaging and therefore too contaminated to be recycled effectively.

Organic waste
Organic household waste is food and garden waste. Organic waste is a problem if sent to landfill, because it is impossible to separate out from other waste once mingled, and will rot producing methane, a greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. The best way to dispose of organic waste is to compost it either through a centralised composting scheme or at home.

Electrical and electronic equipment
At the present time there are very few facilities for recycling household electrical or electronic waste although this is set to change with the introduction of the EU Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Some local authorities have Recycling Centres that take large white goods and mobile phone recycling is now common around the country.
Batteries are varied and complex, come in different shapes and types and are consequently very difficult to sort and recycle. Rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries do still contain hazardous metals and should be returned to the manufacturer where possible. A few local authorities provide facilities for recycling these, as well as lead acid car batteries, which may also be returned to garages. If you use rechargeable batteries look out for the new versions containing no mercury or cadmium.
Hazardous waste
Some household items are actually very harmful to the environment if thrown into the grey bin for landfilling. Keep household paint, make-up, nail varnish, medicines, oil, bulbs etc in a safe place and bring to the regular / periodic “Hazardous Household Waste Collection” organised by your local authority.