Classifications of Waste and Waste H ierarchy
Municipal waste can be easily classified intofour categories, household waste, whichcomprises the vast majority of this type of waste, commercial waste, such as soil,concrete and brick rubble, waste from streetcleansing and hazardous or harmful wastewhich comprises approximately 1% of allmunicipal waste and may require separatecollection. A waste hierarchy was developedin order to direct choices about possiblealternative waste management options. This is a series of strategies designed to createawareness towards our ever increasing problem of waste generation due to increased population growth. The aim of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to yield the least amount of waste. According to the datasupplied by The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2005 over 65.4% of allmunicipal waste in Ireland still goes straight to landfill with only 34.6% being recovered.This in an increase on previous figures in 2004 for waste recovery, but it still remains thatan exceptional amount of waste is disposed of in landfills.
Impact on H ealth and Environment due to Landfills
This type of waste disposal has several undesirable effects, the most significant of whichare environmental and health concerns. The continuous dumping of municipal wasteresults in the production of an unfavorable product known as leachate which forms whenwater permeates through the waste in the landfill cell. The unwanted by-product of thisform of waste management is a potentially dangerous and detrimental form of waste for the environment. Leachate causes problems not only in the construction of the landfill but3
Fig: 1 The Waste Hierarchy