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What is solid waste?

Solid waste is defined as any



sludge from waste treatment plant,

air pollution control facility and other materials,

including solid, semisolid, by commercials, mining and agricultural operations

from community activities ( Moeller, 2005).

Solid and Hazardous Waste

Much of the world continues to inappropriately dispose of refuse which:

(1) invites the production of insects;

(2) becomes a source of contamination to groundwater;

(3) pollutes ambient air when combusted;

(4) facilitates the spread of debris around the dumping site;

(5) lowers property values about the site; and

(6) encourages the spread of disease from microorganisms and toxic


Characteristics of wastes

Corrosive: these are wastes that include acids or bases that are capable of
corroding metallic things.

Ignitability: this is waste that can create fires under certain condition, e.g.
waste oils and solvents

Reactive: these are unstable in nature, they cause explosions, toxic fumes
when heated.

Toxicity: waste which are harmful or fatal when ingested or absorbed.

Types of waste

Non Hazardous waste: refuse, garbage, sludge, municipal trash.

Hazardous waste: solvents acid, heavy metals, pesticides, and chemical


Radioactive: high and low-level radioactive waste

Mixed waste: Radioactive organic liquids, radio active heavy metals.

( Moeller, 2005).

SWM Pyramid

Reduce waste

Methods of waste reduction include

manufacturing products with less packaging,

encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags for packaging,

By practicing Reduce, the need for raw materials is reduced and therefore,
the cost for purchasing and transporting of raw materials is reduced.

Also, this will help in reducing the amount of waste being disposed of.
Reuse waste

Reusing prevents waste disposal via the reuse of waste products such as
plastic water bottles or used clothes.

After reusing, waste products do not necessary need to have their original

The plastic water bottles can be used as pots for planting plants.

There is a reduced need for disposal.

Energy and raw materials are also saved.

Recycling is processing used materials (waste) into new products in order to:

prevent waste of potentially useful materials,

reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials,

reduce consumption of fossil fuels and energy usage,


Soil or Land pollution producing less Solid Waste,

air pollution (from incineration) and

water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for effluent

treatment and waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Recyclable materials include many kinds of





textiles, and


Materials to be recycled are brought to a collection center, then sorted,

cleaned, and reprocessed into new materials.

Textile recycling is the method of reprocessing used clothing, fibrous

material and clothing scraps from the manufacturing process.

Textiles in municipal solid waste are found mainly in discarded clothing,

although other sources include furniture, carpets, tires, footwear, and
nondurable goods such as sheets and towels.

It avoids many polluting and energy intensive processes that are used to
make textiles from fresh materials.

The requirement of landfill space is reduced.

Synthetic Fibers don't decompose in landfilling.

Woolen garments decompose but produce methane, which contributes to

global warming.

Pressure on fresh resources is reduced.

Leads to balance of payments as we buy fewer materials for our


Lesser energy is consumed while processing, as items don't need to be redyed or scoured.

Waste water reduces as it does not have to be thoroughly washed with large
volumes of water as it is done for, say, raw wool.

Demand is reduced for Textile Chemicals like dyes and fixing agents.

Recycled products of textiles

Scrap Quilts,
Pillow covers,
Table Cloth,
Kitchen Cloth,
Jacket Insulation material,

Hand Bags,
Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and used as
a fertilizer for soil improvement.
The process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic
matter (leaves, food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into
soil after a period of weeks or months.
Modern composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured
inputs of water, air and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials.
The decomposition process is aided by cutting up the plant matter, adding
water and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture.
Worms and fungi further break up the material.
Aerobic bacteria manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into
heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium which is further converted by bacteria
into plant-nourishing nitrites and nitrates.
It is used in gardens , and agriculture.
The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a Soil
Conditioner , a fertilizer, and as a natural pesticide for soil.

Science Daily (July 16, 2009) Waste from the textiles industry could with
the assistance of earthworms and some animal manure become a rich
compost for agriculture, according to a report in the International Journal of
Environment and Pollution.

According to a report on published on Monday October 6, 2006, by

international Fiber Centre.

Under the guidance of Professor Taherzadeh, School of Engineering, University

of Bors Sweden, PhD students have evaluated the possibilities of producing

ethanol and biogas from textile waste and as a result of their innovative

found a method to produce half a kilo of ethanol from a kilo of denim.

Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of

substances contained in waste materials.

Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, smoke , and heat

The smoke must be cleaned of gaseous and particulate pollutants before they
are dispersed into the atmosphere.

Incineration with energy recovery is one of several waste to energy (WtE)


It reduces the solid mass of the original waste by 8085% and the volume by
95-96 %, depending on composition and degree of recovery of materials.

Incineration has particularly strong benefits for the treatment of certain waste
types in areas such as:

clinical or medical wastes and

certain hazardous wastes where pathogens and toxins can be destroyed by

high temperatures.

Also for include chemical multi-product plants with diverse toxic or very toxic
streams, which cannot be routed to a conventional treatment plant.

A landfill site is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the
oldest form of waste treatment.

Organic substances biodegrade when they are broken down by other living
organisms (such as enzymes and microbes) into their constituent parts, and
in turn recycled by nature as the building blocks for new life.

The process can occur aerobically (with the aid of oxygen) or anaerobically
(without oxygen).

Substances break down much faster under aerobic conditions, as oxygen

helps break the molecules apart.

Modern sanitary landfills are used to recover energy.

The natural anaerobic decomposition of the waste in the landfill produces

landfill gases which include Carbon Dioxide, methane and traces of other

Methane can be used as an energy source to produce heat or electricity. Thus

some landfills are fitted with landfill gas collection (LFG) systems to capitalise
on the methane being produced.

The process of generating gas is very slow, for the energy recovery system to
be successful there needs to be large volumes of wastes.

Recended Reading

U.S Environmental Protection Agency
Moeller, D. W. (2005). Environmental Health (3rd ed.). Cambridge,
MA:Harvard University Press