Solid Waste Management

In any civilization, solid waste management is a necessary service. But, before we get into the procedure, let’s talk about the substance we’re dealing with: solid waste.

Solid waste refers to a broad spectrum of rubbish materials abandoned as undesired and worthless due to animal and human activity. Solid waste is generated in a specific region due to industrial, residential, and commercial activity, and it can be treated in a variety of ways. As a result, landfills are usually divided into four categories: sanitary, municipal, construction and demolition, and industrial waste sites.

Plastic, paper, glass, metal, and organic garbage are some of the different types of waste. Radioactive, flammable, infectious, toxic, or non-toxic wastes may be classified according to their hazard potential. The origin of the garbage, whether industrial, home, commercial, institutional, or building and demolition, may also be classified.

Regardless of its source, substance, or hazard potential, solid waste must be managed in an organized manner to ensure environmental best practices. Because solid waste management is such an essential part of ecological hygiene, it must be included in environmental planning.

What Is Solid Waste Management?

Solid waste management is defined as the discipline that deals with the generation, storage, collection, transport or transfer, processing, and disposal of solid waste materials in a way that takes into account a variety of public health, conservation, economic, aesthetic, engineering, and other environmental factors.

Planning, administrative, financial, engineering, and legal tasks are all part of solid waste management. Complex inter-disciplinary relationships between subjects such as public health, city and regional planning, political science, geography, sociology, economics, communication and conservation, demography, engineering, and material science could be used to find solutions.

Residential and industrial producers, urban and rural locales, and developed and developing countries all have different solid waste management techniques. Local governments are responsible for the management of non-hazardous trash in metropolitan regions. On the other hand, hazardous waste management is often the duty of those who generate it, and it is regulated by local, national, and even worldwide authorities.

Objectives of Waste Management

The primary purpose of solid waste management is to reduce and eliminate the adverse effects of waste products on human health and the environment to promote economic growth and a higher quality of life. This must be done in the most effective manner feasible to keep expenses low and waste from accumulating.

 6 Functional Elements of the Waste Management System

The waste management system is made up of six functional components, as listed below:

Waste generation: 

Any operations involving identifying materials that are no longer useable and are either gathered for systematic disposal or thrown away are included in this category.

Onsite handling, storage, and processing:

This refers to efforts at the point of trash creation to make the collection more accessible. Waste bins, for example, are put at locations where waste is generated in sufficient quantities.

Waste collection:

Placement of garbage collection containers, collection of waste from those bins, and accumulation of trash in the place where collection vehicles are emptied are all essential aspects of waste management. Although transportation is included in the collecting process, it is not the primary mode of trash transportation.

Waste transfer and transport:

These are the activities involved in transporting rubbish in large waste transport vehicles from local waste-collecting locations to regional waste disposal sites.

Waste processing and recovery:

This term refers to the facilities, equipment, and techniques used to recover reusable or recyclable materials from waste streams and to improve the efficiency of other waste management functions.


This is the final step in the waste management process. It entails operations aimed at the systematic disposal of waste items in places like landfills and waste-to-energy plants.

Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM)

Solutions are being examined more methodically and holistically as the subject of solid waste management improves. In the subject of waste management, for example, ISWM is becoming increasingly significant. It is the process of selecting and implementing appropriate waste management programmes, technologies, and procedures to meet specific waste management goals and objectives. ISWM, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), consists of waste source reduction, recycling, waste combustion, and landfills. These exercises can be done hierarchically or interactively.

Finally, it is critical to emphasize that better solid waste management strategies are badly required in some nations. Only approximately half of the waste produced in cities is collected, while only a quarter of the waste produced in rural regions is collected. In a business-as-usual scenario, the World Bank predicts that global garbage will increase by 70% between 2016 and 2050. Continuous efforts to improve the waste management system are critical to ensuring a healthy human and environmental future.

Like other environmental issues, waste management does not always draw clear lines between what is beneficial for the environment and human health and what is not. Therefore, social and personal issues should always be a part of the political process because waste management decisions are made in the context of society.