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Basic Methods of Waste Management

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 10/18/2013

After the industrial revolution, waste management became an important and necessary function. Learn some of the main methods used in managing waste products today.

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    Waste management is the control of materials that have becomewaste management  redundant and therefore need to be discarded. The process includes collection, transportation, sorting, recycling, clearance, and disposal of waste materials. Waste management includes radioactive substances and other materials that are in a solid, liquid, or gaseous state, and their management techniques also differ from each other.

    Waste management is normally concerned with the materials produced by actions of humans, and unless managed efficiently may have adverse effects on the environment and health of the community. It is an important and complex process due to the multiple varieties of waste produced by industry, each producing different types of materials that require special management techniques.

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    Techniques Of Waste Disposal

    Landfills

    Landfills, being simple and economical, are globally the most common landfill system of waste disposal. It involes the burial of waaste materials. Landfills that are not properly designed or managed may create several environmental hazards and diseases due to the dispersion of garbage by wind, the attraction of rats, and other similar reasons.

    Landfills are normally developed in unused pits located at a distance from the developed areas so that its harmful effects can be avoided. The waste accumulated in the landfill is reduced in size by compaction to permit maximum storage of waste, and is enclosed to avoid rats or mice. Some landfills include systems for the extraction of gas that is used for the generation of electricity.

    It is essential that the landfills do not pollute the surface water or the ground water, and this is ensured by lining the landfill, compaction of the upper layer, and selection of sites that are not subjected to floods. Leakage from landfill waste can be minimized by solidification with cement or asphalt.

    incinerator Incineration

    After landfills, incineration is the most widely used method to eliminate the solid, liquid, and gaseous waste. Hazardous air contaminants are released by the burning of waste, due to which there are serious public concerns regarding environmental pollution. The combustion is generally not complete in an incinerator, due to which the gaseous emissions contain micro-pollutants that are not safe for the area near the incinerator. In countries where adequate space is not available for landfills, incineration is more practicable.

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    Recycling

    Recycling is probably the most ideal way of managing wasate, but it can be costly and difficult to implement. There are numerous products that can be recycled instead of thrown away including aluminum and steel cans, glass bottles, paper, and scrap metal. It is becoming more popular to complete this process and successful marketing is making recycled materials more likely to be purchased. In the long run, recycling can save money and resources as well as keep the environment cleaner.