Each year, people around the world dump a staggering 2.12 billion tons of waste. One of the biggest reasons for this astounding amount of waste is that human beings trash approximately 99% of everything they purchase within six months.
Since the industrial revolution, waste has been a huge environmental problem everywhere around the world. As you can imagine, dealing with all the waste that’s continually being generated isn’t an easy affair. But failure to dispose of waste can have serious consequences.
In this comprehensive guide, we discuss the different types of waste and how you can properly dispose of them. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Waste?
Waste refers to the items that we discard because we don’t need them. A lot of waste is in the form of trash or garbage. What’s the difference?
Well, trash is solid waste such as paper, card boxes, and so on. Garbage, on the other hand, refers to waste that comes from your kitchen or bathroom.
Waste comes from all kinds of sources, including individuals, homes, schools, offices, hospitals, and industries. It also comes in infinite sizes, from something small like a rusty razor blade to something large like the body of an old truck.
Types of Waste
All waste on earth falls into five categories. These are:
1. Liquid Waste
Liquid waste includes dirty water, wash water, organic liquids, waste detergents, and sometimes rainwater. This waste is usually found in households, businesses, and industries.
Depending on its source, liquid waste can be classified as either point or non-point source waste. Point source wastewater refers to all manufactured liquid waste. Natural liquid waste, on the other hand, is classified as non-point source waste.
2. Solid Rubbish
Solid rubbish includes a large variety of items that may be found in households or commercial locations. To understand this type of waste better, let’s break it down into five categories:
- Plastic Waste –consists of bags, containers, jars, and bottles made of plastic.
- Paper/Card Waste – includes newspapers, packaging materials, cardboard, etc.
- Tins and Metals – can be found in different forms throughout your home or business
- Ceramics and Glass – consist of broken ceramic cups and plates, glass bottles, etc.
3. Organic Waste
Organic waste is also common in almost all households. This waste consists of food waste, garden waste, and so on. While this waste is broken down by microorganisms over time, it still needs to be appropriately disposed of when generated.
4. Recyclable Rubbish
As the name suggests, recyclable rubbish refers to all waste that can be converted to reusable products. A significant percentage of items in construction waste such as masonry, metal, paper, and furniture can be recycled.
5. Hazardous Waste
Hazard waste refers to any waste that’s toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive. Such waste can be harmful to both you and the environment. Examples of hazardous waste include toxic chemicals and electronic rubbish.
Disposal of Waste
Different communities around the world adopt different types of waste management. In this section, we discuss five effective types of waste disposal.
A significant amount of the waste we generate is non-recyclable. One of the best ways to safely dispose of such waste is using landfills.
An area with non-porous soil and low levels of groundwater is selected and excavated. After excavation, a protective base that prevents toxic chemicals from reaching the water zone below is created. Next, the waste is spread out on the base before layers of soil are spread above it and compacted.
In some parts of the world, landfill areas are beautified to serve as parks until the waste below decomposes. That may take 20 – 30 years. During this time, no construction is allowed in the landfill area.
Recycling and Reusing
Arguably the best form of waste management involves recycling and reusing.
Interestingly, only about 16 percent of all the waste we produce is recycled. It’s a sad fact, given that a large percentage of the items we throw away as waste can be recycled. There are many benefits of recycling items such as scrap metal, including earning revenue and conserving global resources.
You can opt to reuse such items as paper bags and plastic bottles instead of throwing them away. These practices can help save money while reducing the amount of waste we see today.
Vermicomposting is a type of waste disposal that involves using a specific type of worms to help decompose wastes. The waste disposal method works where you’re dealing with organic waste.
One of the biggest benefits of vermicomposting is that on top of doing away with the waste, it helps improve soil nutrition. As the worms decompose the waste, they produce excretion that significantly improves the quality of the surrounding soil.
Disposal by Incineration
Incineration is a highly effective method of waste disposal when you’re dealing with highly toxic and hazardous waste. Such waste includes rubbish from medical facilities. Incineration reduces waste by up to 95 percent.
What makes incineration so preferable is that it is remarkably cost-effective. The by-products of this method of waste disposal are useful too. For instance, you can use the heat produced to create energy, while ash may be used for hydroponic purposes.
Disposal in Water Bodies
Some types of waste are so hazardous that they need to be disposed of as far away from people as possible. Where you’re dealing with radioactive waste, for instance, it’s best to dump it into a large water body such as an ocean or a sea. The substances can then safely sink deep into the water body where no human being will ever come into contact with it.
Proper Waste Disposal Is Essential
Properly managing the waste we generate every day can seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is to understand the different types of waste we’re dealing with, so we can adopt the correct method of disposal for it.
Are you looking for an easy and effortless way to handle waste in your home or business? Please contact us today to see how we can help.