An Introduction to Waste Management

Waste Management is an integrated whole of management activities undertaken by a commercial entity to comply with applicable legislation concerning waste disposal. It involves the actions and activities needed to effectively manage waste in an effective, hygienic and economical way. It also involves an understanding of the requirement for waste management, the cost of waste management, the role of waste management in encouraging economic growth and what can be done to eliminate waste. The aim of waste management is to minimize the effect of waste on the environment, and also on individuals, communities and organizations. Waste Management aims to enhance the quality of life through a systematic approach to waste disposal that takes its ecological, social and economical aspects into account.

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The process of waste management system can be divided into two main categories, household waste and industrial waste. Household waste can be anything from paper waste, plastic waste, food waste, etc to manufacture of medicines and fertilizers, fuel and lubricants and so on. Some households even recycle household waste to improve their energy efficiency. Industrial waste may include factory wastes, oils, paints, dyes, etc that are a result of manufacturing various products.

Recycling programs are one of the most important components of the waste management system. The objective of recycling programs is to transform waste into various useful products like steel used in manufacturing, cement, glass, rubber, aluminum and other non-biodegradable substances. The most commonly recycled product is waste disposal or the ’empty’ containers that can be reused in other applications. Other important components of recycling programs are collection and recycling of reusable packaging that can be used for manufacture of new products, and the utilization of the raw materials used in producing the recycled products.

Another important component of the waste management system is the collection and storage of used or scrap vehicles. This part of the waste management system involves the processing and removal of vehicles that have been salvaged by individuals due to the need for money. Scrappers and junk car owners keep these vehicles with the intention of selling them off. They dispose of scrap metal and other metals like iron, copper, stainless steel, etc., through public or private auctions, trading, or recycling programs organized by different government agencies and bodies. A number of vehicle recycling programs have also come up to serve the purpose of collecting vehicles that are useless and no longer needed.

Solid waste management system refers to the regulation of the sources of waste that are considered harmful for the environment. The main objectives of solid waste management systems are to minimise the burden on the environment through de-clogging and purification of water bodies, minimising the generation of waste by humans and animals and reducing the quantity of solid waste that is disposed of or recycled. In fact, most developed countries have adopted stringent laws against waste dumping and have banned the importation of waste from countries that do not strictly observe waste management systems. These laws and policies have been implemented as a tool to ensure better quality of life for all.

The burning of waste materials like coal, oil, biodegradable wastes, etc., result in huge quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The efficient waste management system effectively deals with this by generating green energy such as electricity by using photovoltaic cells, solar power and fuel cells. These energy sources to produce electricity without polluting the environment. The solar power can be used to generate thermal energy which could be used for heating. The fuel cells on the other hand can be used to generate electricity for households and small establishments that do not have sufficient sunlight. Greenhouse gas emissions can be controlled through appropriate use of insulation, control of temperature and use of proper ventilators.