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Solid Waste Management

Solid-waste management is the collecting, treating, and disposing of solid material

that is discarded because it has served its purpose or is no longer useful. Improper disposal
of municipal solid waste can create unsanitary conditions, and these conditions in turn can
lead to pollution of the environment and to outbreaks of vector-borne disease—that is,
diseases spread by rodents and insects.

I. Two Major Classifications

Organic waste – this waste is subjected to decay with time and involved highly offensive
odor and gases which are highly detrimental to health. Tis breeds flies, mosquitoes, etc.
produces diseases like typhoid and diarrhea, etc.

Inorganic waste – this consist of non-combustible materials such as grit, dust, mud, metal
pieces, metal container, broken glass, waste building material, and etc. it is not subjected to
decay and is therefore not harmful to public health.

Other Classifications

1. Municipal Waste – includes waste resulting from municipal activities and services such
as street wastes and dead animals.
2. Commercial Waste – solid waste that originate in offices, whole sales and retail stores,
restaurants, and hotels.
3. Garbage – is a term applied to animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling,
storage, sale, cooking and serving food.
4. Construction and Demolition Waste – are the waste materials generated by the
constructions, repairs and demolition of houses. It mainly consist of earth, concrete,
stones, brick, lumber, roofing materials, plumbing materials.
5. Industrial Waste – are the discarded solid material of manufacturing processes and
industrial operations.
6. Hazardous Waste – defined as waste of industrial, institutional or consumer origin which
because of their physical, chemical or biological characteristics are potentially
dangerous to human and the environment.
7. Agricultural Waste – includes natural and non-natural wastes, is a general term used to
describe waste produced on farm through various farming activities.
8. Biomedical/Hospital Waste – is generated during the diagnosis, treatment, or
immunization of human beings or animals or in research activities.
9. Plastic – plastics, due to their versatility in use and impact on environment can be
grouped under a different category of solid waste.


II. Composition and Characteristics of Solid Waste

Physical Characteristics

It is expressed as mass per unit volume (kg/m3). This parameter is required for
designing a solid waste management program. A reduction in volume by 75% is achieved
through normal compaction equipment, so that an initial density of 100kg/m 3 may readily be
increased to 400 kg/m3. Significant changes in the density occur as waste moves from
sources to disposal site, as A result of scavenging, handling, wetting, and drying by the
Weather and vibration during transport. Density is critical in the design of sanitary landfill
as well as for storage, collection and transport of wastes. Efficient operation of landfill
requires compaction of wastes to optimum density.

Moisture Content
Values greater than 40% are also not common. Moisture increases the weight of
the solid wastes and therefore the cost of collection and transport increases. Consequently
waste should be insulated from rain or other extraneous water source. Moisture content
is critical determinant in the economic feasibility of waste treatment by
incineration. During incineration energy must be supplied for evaporation of water and
raising the temperature of vapor.

Chemical Characteristics
Information of chemical characteristics is important in evaluating alternative
processing and recovery options. Typically waste is considered as combination of
combustible and noncombustible components. If solid waste is to be used as a fuel or
for any other use we should know its chemical components.

These are included in the class of fats, oils and grease. The principal sources of
lipids in the garbage are cooking oil and fats. Lipids have high heating values about 38,000
KJ/Kg (kilojoules/kilograms), which makes the waste with high lipid content suitable for
energy recovery. Since lipids become liquids at temperature slightly above ambient they
add to the liquid content during waste decomposition. They are biodegradable, but they
have low solubility in water and hence the rate of biodegradation is slow.

These are primarily originated from the food sources rich in starch and celluloses.
These are readily biodegrade into carbon dioxide, water and methane. Decomposition of
carbohydrates attracts the flies and rats and hence should not be left exposed for long

These are the compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen and
organic acid with amino groups. They are primarily found in food and garden wastes, but
their partial decomposition result in the production of amines, which impart unpleasant

Natural Fibers
These are the natural products contain cellulose and lignin that are relatively
resistant to biodegradation. These are found in paper products, food and yard wastes.
Paper is almost100% cellulose, cotton over 95% and wood products over 40-50%. These
are highly combustible products most suitable for incineration. The calorific value of oven
dried paper products are in the range 12000-18000 KJ/kg.

Synthetic Organic Materials

In the recent years plastics have become a significant components of solid waste,
accounting for 1-10%. They are highly resistant to the biodegradation; hence their presence
in the waste is objectionable. Currently much attention is given to reduce this component at
disposal sites. Plastics have a high heating value, about 32000 KJ/kg which makes
them very suitable for incineration. However, among the plastics
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) when burnt produces dioxin and acid gas. The trace
gases produced during the burning of plastic are proved to be carcinogenic.

III. Waste Management Approach

The processes involved in dealing with the waste of humans and organisms,
including minimization, handling, processing, storage, recycling, transport, and final

Inventory Management and Improved Operation

Inventory management is the ongoing process of moving parts and products into
and out of a company’s location(s). Companies manage their inventory on a daily basis as
they place new orders for products and ship orders out to customers. It’s important that
business leaders gain a firm grasp of everything involved in the inventory management
process. That way, they can figure out creative ways to solve inventory management
challenges by finding the right solutions.

Inventory management attempts to solve the challenge of proper inventory

management, companies often turn to software that can help them keep track of all of their
inventory, orders, vendors and more. Startups frequently record inventory quantities in
Microsoft Excel because it’s easily accessible and they don’t have to put a lot of money into
obtaining it. But they find that Excel lacks the nuanced and comprehensive features they
need to analyze data, spot trends in sales and supply chains, automatically update
inventory records from a barcode scanner, and keep their data secure yet accessible. Using
a simple inventory management solution is a step up from Excel, but its limitations soon
leads growing businesses to switch to a more advanced solution over time. This leads to
wasted time and money spent learning a new system every few years.

Inventory Management Solutions

A better solution to inventory management is to find software that is affordable and
robust enough for small and midsize businesses to stay with for many hours. It has features
that are simple enough for a young business to master, but that can also be expanded to fit
that same business’s increasingly complex needs year after year. Fishbowl is a powerful
inventory management system that fits into this category. Fishbowl Manufacturing and
Fishbowl Warehouse help you oversee multiple locations, track shipments, automatically
reorder products, print and scan barcodes, convert units of measurement, use multi-
currency features, create multilevel work orders, and much more. Fishbowl integrates with
dozens of other business solutions, including Amazon, eBay, QuickBooks, Salesforce, and
Xero, just to name a few. So you can share your inventory data across all of your other
online and desktop platforms to ensure each one has accurate, up-to-date inventory
quantities and values.


Utilization of Waste

The three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle. There are many easy and practical ways
that YOU can reduce the amount of solid waste you produce, and keep Tobago clean and
beautiful. Here are a few ideas.

 Take your own bag or basket to the grocery and market.
 Do not accept bags for your purchases in stores unless you really need them (e.g. you
do not need to place a bag of bread in another bag).
 Choose products wrapped in the least unnecessary packaging.
 Buy everything you can in bulk (large economy sizes) rather than small packages that
use much more wasteful packaging.
 Try using concentrated products (e.g. soap) which need less packaging.
 Buy vegetables loose rather than in plastic bags.
 Compost vegetable scraps and garden waste. This can account for up to three-quarters
of the waste you produce.
 Don't waste food and store leftovers in a reusable container.
 Give your food scraps to animals.
 Maintain and repair items (e.g. clothes, appliances) so they last longer.
 Sell or donate things you don't want instead of throwing them out (e.g. clothes, books
can be sold at garage sales or handed down to younger ones).
 Borrow, rent or share things you don't use often (e.g. tools).
 Use cloth napkins, sponges and dishcloths instead of paper towels and napkins.
 Do not take more than you need to use. For example, don't take packets of ketchup,
napkins, or utensils from restaurants unless you need them.
 Use low-energy fluorescent bulbs that last longer than the regular incandescent bulbs.
 If you mow your lawn or trim plants, let the trimmings remain on the soil to decompose
and release important nutrients for the plants to use or use them in compost bin.

 Use both sides of paper. Keep a collection of scrap paper to reuse.

 Wash plastic containers and jars and reuse.
 Buy things in plastic or glass containers that can be reused.
 Reuse boxes.
 Use reusable containers for food instead of disposable boxes, plastic wrap, foil, or
sandwich bags.
 Reuse plastic bags.
 Ask restaurants to use reusable food containers that can be washed (or at least
paper which is less damaging to the environment).
 Reuse envelopes.


 Join the paper-recycling programed of the Environment Division of the Tobago

House of Assembly and the Solid Waste Management Company Limited. Call 660-
7636 for more information.
 Make your own recycled paper.
 Participate in glass recycling in Tobago run by Carib Glassworks Ltd. Special bins
are located around the island, call 662-2231.


IV. Solid Waste Management: An Overview

Identification of Waste and its Minimization at the Resources

Waste Identification The first step in the management of hazardous waste is to

determine whether a material is a waste. A waste is generally defined as a material, which
is discarded, including materials that are either spent or intended to be thrown away.
Materials that are being used for their intended purpose or are otherwise still reusable are
not considered waste. A waste can be a solid, liquid, semisolid or contained gaseous
Apart from the above definition, below are a few general steps to indentify if a
chemical/substance is waste:
 Spent material.
 Unusable because it does not meet its required specifications.
 Past its expiration date.
 Unlabeled, and has been unlabeled for more than 30 days.
 Abandoned.
 A container that once held chemicals.
 Unwanted and intended to be discarded or recycled.
A regulated chemical waste is defined as a waste which, due to its quantity,
concentration, or physical and chemical characteristics may
 Cause, or significantly contribute to, an increase in mortality or an increase in serious or
incapacitating illness; or
 Pose a substantial present or potential threat to human health or the environment when
improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of, or otherwise managed.
The disposal of regulated waste and other unwanted chemicals has become
increasingly complicated. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regulate the treatment and disposal of
chemical wastes in Texas. The purpose of this section is to help you better understand
exactly what is and is not a regulated chemical waste. In doing so, we hope that you may
be able to design experiments with waste minimization in mind, and dispose of chemical
waste generated in your laboratory in a manner consistent with legal requirements.
After a material is identified as waste, the person responsible for generating the waste
must determine if the waste is a hazardous waste. If assistance is needed to determine the
hazardous nature of a waste, contact the Environmental Health, Safety & Risk Management
Department at 468-6034/468-4532. A hazardous waste is a waste:
 Which exhibits any of four hazardous waste characteristics and/or
 Falls into any of the four specific listing descriptions


Collection, Segregation and Storage at the Site of Collection

Collection of Solid Waste

Solid waste collection shall be required by all residential dwelling units. It shall be
the responsibility of the owner or occupant of any residential dwelling unit to apply for solid
waste collection services. The city public works department, sanitation collection division,
shall be the sole, exclusive solid waste collection service for all residential dwelling units,
including but not limited to single-family dwellings, multiple-family dwellings, townhouses,
apartment complexes and trailer parks. Collection of household solid waste generated at a
residential dwelling unit by a solid waste collector other than the city public works
department, sanitation collection division must be approved through a formal agreement
between the city and the solid waste collector. Collection and hauling of household
hazardous waste, white goods, recyclables and other solid wastes which are not household
solid waste shall be the responsibility of the residential dwelling unit owner or occupant.
Storage of Solid Waste
Storage Containers Required. It shall be the duty and responsibility of every person
in possession, charge or control of any establishment where garbage or refuse is created or
accumulated to at all times keep or cause to be kept adequate portable storage containers
of approved size, type and construction and to deposit or cause to be deposited all
garbage, rubbish or waste in said storage containers. Storage containers shall be strong,
watertight, not easily corrodible, rodent-resistant, insect-resistant, of not less than 20 and
not more than 33 gallons capacity, have handles at the sides and tight fitting overlapping
covers and shall not exceed 60 pounds in weight when full; provided, however, that by
agreement with the director of public works, bulk containers, such as dumpster units, may
be used. Each storage container shall be kept clean inside and out by the customer. Covers
shall not be removed except when necessary to place garbage and refuse in the storage
container or to remove the same therefrom. All putrescible solid waste shall be drained of
surplus liquids and shall be securely wrapped in paper or placed in watertight bags before
being placed in the storage containers. Storage containers shall not be overloaded to the
extent covers cannot be securely replaced. Where the director of public works or his
designee deems necessary, a suitable raised platform, hanger or device shall be provided
so that storage containers shall not freeze onto the ground or rest in water or on ice or be
tipped over by animals. At the time of collection, storage containers shall be placed at
accessible locations approved by the director of public works or his designee. Storage
containers shall be loaded in such a manner as to be conveniently handled without spilling
contents. Containers without handles or lids or with sharp edges or holes shall be
considered solid waste and after written notice to the customer has been left with the
container on the previous collection date, may, without liability, be collected and discarded
by the solid waste collector. It shall be the duty of every person in possession, charge or
control of any establishment to keep the area surrounding a storage container clean and
free of any materials which may appear to be garbage, rubbish or waste. Any such material
may without liability be collected and discarded by the solid waste collector.


Segregation of Solid Waste

Certain things that are not needed around the house are kept aside to be sold to
the kabadiwala or the man who buys old items. These items are newspapers, used bottles,
magazines, carry bags, old exercise books, oilcans, etc. This is one form of segregation,
which is done as a routine in all households in India. Separating our waste is essential as
the amount of waste being generated today causes immense problem. Segregation of
municipal solid waste can be clearly understood by schematic representation. Certain items
are not biodegradable but can be reused or recycled. In fact, it is believed that a larger
portion can be recycled, a part of it can be converted to compost, and only a smaller portion
of it is real waste that has no use and has to be discarded.
Household waste should be separated daily into different bags for the different
categories of waste such as wet and dry waste, which should be disposed of separately.
One should also keep a bin for toxic wastes such as medicines, batteries, dried paint, old
bulbs, and dried shoe polish. Wet waste, which consists of leftover foodstuff, vegetable
peels, etc., should be put in a compost pit and the compost could be used as manure in the
garden. Dry waste consisting of cans, aluminum foils, plastics, metal, glass, and paper
could be recycled. If we do not dispose of the waste in a more systematic manner, more
than 1400 sq. km of land, which is the size of the city of Delhi, would be required in the
country by the year 2047 to dispose of it. (

Transportation of Solid Waste

Transportation of solid waste collected to larger bins by sweepers is carried out
properly by a tractor at each second day Lifting of garbage is done manually. The waste
collected from the roads and bins is directly transported to the final dumping site. The
refuse vehicles have to travel outside the campus at a particular dumping site or dump the
waste collected in the lower region of campus for filling this lower region to take it in level.
The tractors carrying waste are not covered or partially covered during the journey and
waste tends to spill on the roads. Most often workers are not provided with protective hand
gloves and shoes so they are directly expose to the waste. Protective measures are
necessary to avoid contracting skin allergies and respiratory diseases .The loading and
unloading of waste is done through mechanical system reducing direct contact of worker
with the wastes.


Treatment of Solid Waste

Waste treatment refers to the processes that use heat to treat waste materials.
Following are some of the most commonly used thermal waste treatment techniques:
 Incineration
 Gasification and Pyrolysis
 Open Burning
 Anaerobic Digestion
 Composting

Energy Recovery and Disposal

Energy recovery from waste is the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into
useable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes, including combustion,
gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas (LFG) recovery. This process
is often called waste-to-energy (WTE).
Energy recovery from waste is part of the non-hazardous waste management
hierarchy. Converting non-recyclable waste materials into electricity and heat generates a
renewable1 energy source and reduces carbon emissions by offsetting the need for energy
from fossil sources and reduces methane generation from landfills.

Disposal is the “no alternative” option because it is the last functional element in the
solid waste management system and the ultimate fate of all wastes that are of no further
value. As the terminal action for pollution control of solid waste, the final target of disposal is
to isolate solid waste and its environmental impact from biosphere, to limit the infection of
hazardous components in wastes to be lower than acceptable levels, and to guarantee the
safety of human’s health and environment. The highest rank in the hierarchy of integrated
solid waste management is source reduction. From the perspective of the community,
source reduction is the most desired activity, because the community does not incur costs
for waste handling, transporting, and disposal for waste that is never created and delivered
to the waste management system. As the patterns of waste generation become more
diffuse and the total quantity of waste increases, the logistics of collection becomes more
complex. At the same time, transfer operations become a necessity when haul distance to
processing centers or disposal sites increases so that direct hauling is no longer
economically feasible. Of the total amount of expenses for solid waste management
system, approximately 60 to 90 percent is spent on the collection and transfer phase. This
fact is important because a small percentage improvement in the collection and transfer
operations can result in a significant savings in the overall cost. The safe and reliable long-
term disposal of solid waste residues is an important component of integrated solid waste
management. Historically, landfills have been the most economical and environmentally
acceptable method for the disposal of solid wastes in most of the countries. Even with
implementation of waste reduction, recycling, transformation and energy recovery
technologies, disposal of residual solid waste in landfill still remains a necessary component
of waste management system. The most commonly used thermal conversion process is
incineration, which can be used to reduce the original volume of the combustible fraction of
MSW by approximately 80 to 90 percent. In addition, the recovery of energy in the form of
heat is another attractive feature of the incineration system. If the biodegradable organic
materials in the MSW are subjected to aerobic or anaerobic micro-bacterial decomposition,
the end product remaining after microbiological activity has essentially ceased, is a humus
material commonly known as compost. This biological and chemical conversion technology
of solid waste is called composting.


Is one of the most common waste treatments? This approach involves the
combustion of waste material in the presence of oxygen. The combustion process converts
wastes into ash, flue, gas, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. This thermal treatment method
is commonly used as a means of recovering energy for electricity or heating. This approach
has several advantages. It quickly reduces waste volume, lessens transportation costs and
decreases harmful greenhouse gas emissions. (

Sanitary landfills - provides the most commonly used waste disposal solution. These
landfills are desired to eliminate or reduce the risk of environmental or public health hazards
due to waste disposal. These sites are situated where land features work as natural buffers
between the environment and the landfill. For instance, the landfill area can be comprised
of clay soil which is quite resistant to hazardous wastes or is characterized by an absence
of surface water bodies or a low water table, preventing the risk of water pollution. The use
of sanitary landfills presents the least health and environmental risk, but the cost of
establishing such landfills is comparatively higher than other waste disposal methods.

Controlled dumps - are more or less the same as sanitary landfills. These dumps comply
with many of the requirements for being a sanitary landfill but may lack one or two. Such
dumps may have a well-planned capacity but no cell-planning. There may be no or partial
gas management, basic record keeping, or regular cover.

Bioreactor landfills - are the result of recent technological research. These landfills use
superior microbiological processes to speed up waste decomposition.

The controlling feature is the continuous addition of liquid to sustain optimal

moisture for microbial digestion. The liquid is added by re-circulating the landfill leachate.
When the amount of leachate is not adequate, liquid waste such as sewage sludge is used.

Composting is another most frequently used waste disposal or treatment method which is
the controlled aerobic decomposition of organic waste materials by the action of small
invertebrates and microorganisms. The most common composting techniques include static
pile composting, vermin-composting, windrow composting and in-vessel composting.

Energy Recovery from the Municipal Solid Waste
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) contains organic as well as inorganic matter. The
latent energy present in its organic fraction can be recovered for gainful utilization through
adoption of suitable Waste Processing and Treatment technologies. The recovery of energy
from wastes also offers a few additional benefits as follows:
(i) The total quantity of waste gets reduced by nearly 60% to over 90%, depending
upon the waste composition and the adopted technology;
(ii) Demand for land, which is already scarce in cities, for landfilling is reduced;
(iii) The cost of transportation of waste to far-away landfill sites also gets reduced
proportionately; and
(iv) Net reduction in environmental pollution.

Parameters Affecting Energy Recovery

Waste Treatment Basic principle Important Waste Desirable Range*

Method Parameters
-Thermo-chemical Decomposition of Moisture content < 45 %
conversion organic matter by Organic/ Volatile
action of heat. matter > 40 %
-Pyrolysis Fixed Carbon < 15 %
Total Inerts < 35 %

Calorific Value (Net >1200 k-cal/kg

Calorific Value)
Bio-chemical Decomposition of Moisture content >50 %
conversion organic matter by
microbial action Organic / > 40 %
-Anaerobic Volatile matter 25-30
Digestion/ Bio- C/N ratio

Indicated values pertain to suitably segregated/ processed / mixed wastes and do not
necessarily correspond to wastes as received at the treatment facility.

Sanitary Landfill
Sanitary landfill represents one of the oldest and most common methods of
municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal. Over the years, with the advancement of science
and technology, design, operation, and maintenance of sanitary landfills have greatly
improved resulting in facilities that are efficient, environmentally compatible, and free from
many of the problems that created an image of a “dirty, smelly, and leaky” facility. Indeed,
modern landfills that are properly designed and comply with all regulations that go into site
selection, design, construction, and operation of landfills, assure not only a clean and safe
facility but a potential source of energy that helps in reduction of greenhouse gases that
contribute to global warming. Once the waste is disposed of into a sanitary landfill, its
organic constituents undergo a complex series of physical, chemical and biological
reactions, causing its conversion into simpler compounds. The rate of waste degradation
depends on various factors, and generally takes several years for the process to complete.
The main by-products of reactions are landfill gases and leachate, generated at various
stages of waste decomposition. Proper management of landfill gases and leachate is
essential to prevent environmental pollution. Extensive landfill design criteria, including
proper site selection, for construction of new landfills and expansion of existing landfills,
have been developed to address various environmental and aesthetic concerns. If properly
designed and managed, sanitary landfill is still the best economical solution for MSW

Hazardous Waste Management

Hazardous-waste management, the collection, treatment, and disposal of waste
material that, when improperly handled, can cause substantial harm to human health and
safety or to the environment. Hazardous wastes can take the form of solids, liquids, sludge,
or contained gases, and they are generated primarily by chemical
production, manufacturing, and other industrial activities. They may cause damage during
inadequate storage, transportation, treatment, or disposal operations. Improper hazardous-
waste storage or disposal frequently contaminates surface and groundwater supplies.
People living in homes built near old and abandoned waste disposal sites may be in a
particularly vulnerable position. In an effort to remedy existing problems and to prevent
future harm from hazardous wastes, governments closely regulate the practice of
hazardous-waste management.

Biomedical Waste
Biomedical waste, also known as infectious waste or medical waste, is defined as
solid waste generated during the diagnosis, testing, treatment, research or production of
biological products for humans or animals. Biomedical waste includes syringes, live
vaccines, laboratory samples, body parts, bodily fluids and waste, sharp needles, cultures
and lancets.

Biomedical wastes may be categorized as follows:
 Human Anatomical Waste: Human body parts, tissues and organs.
 Animal Waste: Animal body parts, carcasses, excreta, bleeding parts and wastes
generated at veterinary hospitals.
 Microbiology and Biotechnology Waste: Wastes from laboratory cultures, live or
attenuated vaccines, human and animal cell culture used in research, wastes from
biological toxins.
 Waste Sharps: Needles, syringes, blades, scalpels.
 Discarded Medicines
 Soiled Waste: Cloth containing blood stains, blood coated cotton balls, soiled plasters.
 Solid Waste: Waste generated from disposable items like tubing and catheters.
 Liquid Waste: Waste generated from laboratory housekeeping activities.
 Incineration Waste: Ash generated from incineration of biomedical waste.
 Chemical Waste: Chemicals used for disinfection.

Biomedical waste can be disposed of through incineration or decontamination by
heating with steam under pressure in an autoclave. Trash chutes must not be used for the
transfer or disposal of biomedical waste.