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5 Principles of Solid Waste Management

5 Principles of Solid Waste Management

With our world being ravaged by waste there is a need for the principles of solid waste management tools to be in place to manage waste and improve public health.

Waste is an unuseful substance and it could be solid, liquid, or gas forms. There are different types of waste as waste covers a vast range of materials, they include; Infectious waste, pathological waste, sharps waste, chemical waste, pharmaceutical waste, cytotoxic waste, radioactive waste.

Due to the urgency of the effects of waste on the health and wellness of the environment and people, there is a need for the effective management of solid waste. This can be achieved through the application of the principles of waste management.

The principles of solid waste management would help improve the health of people by doing the widespread of waste-related diseases, help in the longer use of products, help in the beautification of our environment, reduce manufacturing cost amongst other benefits.

What is Solid Waste Management?

Solid Waste Management is a process that involves the collection, monitoring, regulation, transportation, sorting, treatment, and disposal of solid waste sustainably.

According to Wikipedia,

“Waste management (or waste disposal) includes the processes and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal.

This includes the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste, an nm together with monitoring and regulation of the waste management process and waste-related laws, technologies, economic mechanisms.”

Waste is in different forms including solid, liquid, and gas and as such, they implore different ways of disposal of management. Waste management in general deals with all kinds of waste including industrial, biological, household, municipal, organic, biomedical, radioactive wastes.

Waste management if not sustainably done in some cases can adversely affect both human and environmental health. Though there is an emphasis on the effective management of waste through the principles of waste management, waste management is not uniform all over the world.

This is a challenge because there is lacking proper and sustainable waste management in developing countries which is important for the development of sustainable and liveable cities.

Having looked at what solid waste management is, let’s look at why solid waste management is important.

Importance of Solid Waste Management

There are various reasons why solid waste management is important.

1. Solid waste management is of prime importance because when solid waste is managed properly through the principles of solid waste management, materials which we have called waste (not useful) can be recovered to be used again in some cases again and again for different purposes.

Through waste management materials that are not useful to some people can be useful to others. Though sorting of solid waste to bring out potentially useful material can be dangerous, potentially useful materials can be sorted out and sold at a reduced price for another person.

Most developed countries have been carrying involved in this aspect of waste management as they deposit their fairly used products which are then transported to be used by other countries. This has helped in improving the standard of living of developing countries.

2. Through effective solid waste management, a huge amount of space can be recovered from landfills. An efficient waste separation would significantly reduce the amount of waste they are being disposed to landfills.

This is because some of those wastes are recycled, reused, or even incinerated. Any additional space may also be used for more useful purposes rather than just dumping garbage on it.

3. Effective solid waste management that is gotten through the efficient application of the principles of waste management help protect humans and majorly the surrounding environment.

Without proper waste management, waste can destroy both plants and animals even the land can become adversely affected and water can be polluted hindering the provision of cleaner drinking water.

4. Compost can be gotten from effective Waste management that is gotten through the efficient application of the principles of waste management. Composting organic waste can help nurture crops and result in a better agricultural yield.

5. A suitable amount of energy can be recovered which could help replace the use of fossil fuels from the management of non-recyclable solid waste. But it’s necessary to have a modern air pollution control system to mitigate the environmental impacts of waste-to-energy plants.

6. Effective solid waste management that is gotten through the efficient application of the principles of waste management though might seem costly to operate but it’s actually cost-effective in the long run as the benefits gotten from solid waste management reduce other cost implications like the spread of diseases, the use of to much space for landfill majorly open landfill amongst the others.

Having known the importance of solid waste management, let’s now look at the principles of solid waste management.

What are Principles of Solid Waste Management?

There are some principles of solid waste management and they include the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, incineration and disposal. They are known as the solid waste management hierarchy and help in waste minimisation.

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle
  • Incineration
  • Disposal

The aim of the 3Rs is resource recovery. If the resource cannot be recovered then it is disposed of by incineration which can be able to perform energy recovery or by landfills its last destination if not can be done.

1. Reduce

Reduce is the most important and the most effective of the principles of solid waste management. It involves reducing the water we generate. This can be done by avoiding the unnecessary use of resources that produce waste. The less the water, the less waste to manage.

Though this principle of solid waste management is very efficient, it’s usually hard for customers to follow because we tend to think we need to cut back on everything or we won’t be making an impact.

This is not the case, but we could cut back on a few things that might be unnecessary without hampering our lifestyle.

A way we could efficiently apply this principle of solid waste management is to refuse the use of plastic shopping bags. We should take the one we have or we could use a box. About a 100billion plastic bags are disposed of every year. So, is better we make use of reusable bags.

Here are some reasons why we ought to reduce and refuse the use of plastic bags.

  1. They fill up our landfills. They are non-biodegradable and could last for about a thousand years so, once they go to the landfill, they are bound to be they for a long time.
  2. They are made of non-renewable resources. The raw materials for the production of plastic bags are natural gas and crude oil which are non-renewable.
  3. They are harmful to animals. These plastic bags move without control and by this, they can find their way into rivers and or waters and inhibit sunlight penetration into the water which affects our fishes. Animals can even eat them and could die around 100,000 sea animals are lost to plastic bags yearly.
  4. They are harmful to humans. This is especially children who may eat them or play with them and could choke or suffocate.
  5. Only about 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled in the world.

To reduce waste generation, we could make some active a reoccurring one and they are:

  1. Buying products with less packaging
  2. Buy products in bulk.
  3. Try not to reduce the purchase of disposable goods
  4. But durable goods.

2. Reuse

The next in the hierarchy of the principles of solid waste management is to reuse the materials we have used before. Materials can be reused for the same or different purposes. Reuse is becoming more and more popular with the surge of upcycling and craft projects all over the web.

Reuse is an efficient way to keep waste out of landfills. It gives value to materials that are deemed to be waste. If you reuse something as opposed to throwing it away you keep waste out of landfills and create something new.

Reuse is cost-effective as you don’t have to buy a new product. It also saves energy and resources that would have been used to make the new product.

Products such as plastic bottles can be used and reused for different purposes. From being produced through the manufacturing of soft drinks, it can be used as drinking water can and can be used over and over again.

Tires can be used to produce chairs and tables. Also companies like Nike, Coca-Cola collect used materials and reuse them for their production, this way the natural resources would not have to be exploited.

Instead of disposing of shoes and clothing that are turned or damaged, we can repair them to be used again. Materials that are no more of use to us can be of use to another person. It’s good to reuse products reducing the amount of waste we take to the landfill.

Some other ways we can reuse materials as one of the principles of solid waste management is;

  • Give unwanted toys and books to hospitals or schools
  • Put unwanted clothes in used clothing bins
  • Use plastic containers for freezing or storing food items
  • Save wrapping paper and boxes to use again
  • Use old jars for storage
  • Take old magazines to your local doctor’s or dentist’s surgery
  • Shop at second-hand stores or use online trading websites to buy items that are unwanted by others
  • Take household items to your council’s resource recovery centre
  • Make memo pads out of waste paper
  • Re-use envelopes – purchase reuse labels.

3. Recycling

The next in the hierarchy of the principles of solid waste management is recycling. Recycling can be said to be a form of reuse but in this sense, used products are remanufactured it reprocessed to form either the same product or another product. An example could be recycling plastic bottles to make buckets.

The main products that can be recycled are paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, tin, and plastic containers. Composting and worm farms are methods of recycling organic waste.

4. Incineration

This is not a sustainable method of solid waste management but it’s needed because some materials cannot be reused or recycled and so they need to be burnt off. Incineration is the burning of waste materials. Most times, there is energy recovery after the incineration process.

Though, there are concerns about the gaseous fumes that come as a result of burning. These gases can be channeled to be processed and released as harmful gases.

5. Disposal

This is the final destination of waste. A sanitary landfill is an engineered pit for burying waste. A landfill is a site that has been earmarked for the disposal of solid waste. Landfills should be the last option of solid waste management.

Landfills though could be effective solid waste disposal than open-pit and other forms, still pose an environmental risk and that is to the underground water. The leachate from landfills poses a serious threat to the underground water as this leachate can infiltrate through the landfill into the underground water polluting the underground water.

Having known the principles of solid waste management, let’s look at how the principles of solid waste management are formed.

How Principles of Solid Waste Management were formed.

There is no clear format that shows how the principles of solid waste management were formed by a history of solid waste management.

Solid waste management had in previous times just been inconsistent which resulted in the littering of waste on streets and sidewalks though this has been insignificant due to the low population.

However, some populations have been more effective in handling their waste output than others. The Maya of Central America had a fixed monthly ritual, in which the people of the village would gather together and burn their rubbish in large dumps.

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, due to the rapid decrease in the level of sanitation, and quality of urban life, calls have to be made for a municipal authority with waste removal powers in 1751 by Corbyn Morris in London.

In the mid-19th century due to the increase in cholera outbreaks and emergence of public health debates that the reported of high influence on sanitation condition of the Labouring Population in 1842 by the social reformer, Edwin Chadwick.

In his report, he emphasized the importance of adequate waste removal and managing facilities to improve the health and well-being of the population.

The increase in waste gave birth to the building of incinerators to burn waste having their names as “destructors”. Then, came the waste removals originally moved by horses and then later became motorised.

As time went on with civilisation becoming more profound, waste generation increased and better ways of managing waste started coming to light giving birth to the principles of solid waste management.

FAQs

What are the Major Principles of Solid Waste Management?

The major principles of solid waste management are the 3Rs; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

1. Reduce

Reduce is the most important and the most effective of the principles of solid waste management. It involves reducing the water we generate. This can be done by avoiding the unnecessary use of resources that produce waste. The less the water, the less waste to manage.

Though this principle of solid waste management is very efficient, it’s usually hard for customers to follow because we tend to think we need to cut back on everything or we won’t be making an impact.

This is not the case, but we could cut back on a few things that might be unnecessary without hampering our lifestyle.

2. Reuse

The next in the hierarchy of the principles of solid waste management is to reuse the materials we have used before. Materials can be reused for the same or different purposes. Reuse is becoming more and more popular with the surge of upcycling and craft projects all over the web.

Reuse is an efficient way to keep waste out of landfills. It gives value to materials that are deemed to be waste. If you reuse something as opposed to throwing it away you keep waste out of landfills and create something new.

Reuse is cost-effective as you don’t have to buy a new product. It also saves energy and resources that would have been used to make the new product.

3. Recycling

The next in the hierarchy of the principles of solid waste management is recycling. Recycling can be said to be a form of reuse but in this sense, used products are remanufactured it reprocessed to form either the same product or another product. An example could be recycling plastic bottles to make buckets.

The main products that can be recycled are paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, tin, and plastic containers. Composting and worm farms are methods of recycling organic waste.

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