You are on page 1of 22


The activities and actions involved in managing waste generated in various fields like
agriculture, municipal, household wastes, sewage sludge, organic waste is called waste


This mainly involves in managing organic waste produced by households and agriculture.
This can be done by composting organic waste or generating biogas using organic waste.

Fig: Organic waste management

Composting is a natural biological process of recycling which biodegrades organic waste under
controlled aerobic conditions through which organic wastes like food, waste leaves, manure,
paper, grass, feather, crop residues can be turned into a valuable organic fertilizer.

1.1.1 Materials to compost:

Various materials used for composting can be mainly classified into two types depending upon
whether they contain carbon or nitrogen.
a) materials that contain Nitrogen: various organic materials which contain nitrogen are table
scraps, fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings(add in thin layers), lawn and garden weeds
(which have not gone to seed), green comfrey(it is an excellent compost activator), flowers,
cuttings, seaweed and kelp(apply in thin layers which is a good source for trace minerals),
chicken manure(excellent compost activator), coffee grounds, tea leaves.
b) Materials that contain Carbon: leaves(specially shredded as they breakdown faster), shrub
prunings, straw or hay( straw is best), pine needles(acidic, use in moderate amounts), news
paper, shredded paper (using glossy papers and coloured inks should be voided), cardboard,
corncobs, stalks(chopped best), dryer lint, sawdust pellets( add in layers to avoid clumping),
wood chips/pellets(it contain high carbon levels, use sparingly).
C) Egg shells also used which is neutral.
Do not compost meat ,bones , fish scraps which will attract pests, perennial weeds , diseased
plants. Pet manures should not be used in compost which is used on food crops. Banana peels,
peach peels and orange rinds contain pesticide residue so they should be kept away from the
compost.Black walnut leaves are not used. Sawdust can be added to compost but it should be
mixed or scattered thinly to avoid clumping and ensure that it is clean without chain oil residues
from cutting.
1.1.2 Steps to prepare compost:
1. make a compost bin which is open at top and bottom and start compost pile on bare earth
which allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost.

Fig: compost bin

2. Start with laying twigs or straw first for about 4-6 inches. Coarse carbon content material
should be layered on the bottom of the pile which allows good air circulation.

3. adding layers of compost materials: Add alternating layers of moist and dry compost
materials.Moist materials are like food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc. dry materials are like
straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. Wood ashes should be sprinkled in layers
otherwise they will clump together and be slow to breakdown.
4. Adding manure: Add green manure( buckwheat, wheat grass, clover, grass clippings) or any
nitrogen source which activates the compost pile and speeds up the process.

5. Maintain the compost in moist condition by using water occasionlly or let the rain do job.
6. enclose the bin: cover the bin anything you have like wood, plastic sheeting, carpetr scraps.
Covering helps in retaining moisture and heat which are two essentials for compost. It also
prevents the compost from being over-watered by rainfall. The compost should be maintained
moist but not soaked and sodden.
7. Mix up the layers: for every two weeks give the pile a quick turn with a shovel or pitchfork
which aerates the pile. Turning adds oxygen which is required for the process to work. If u have
a ready supply of coarse material(like straw)

Once the compost pile is established, new materials are added by mixing them in rather than by
adding them in layers. Mixing or turning the compost pile is mainly to aerate the composting
materials and speed up the process to complete.

A healthy compost pile is one which has more carbon than nitrogen. Use one-third of green
materials for every two-third of brown materials. Good comp[ost hygiene is covering fresh
nitrogen rich material which releases odour.

Fig: green and brown materials

1.1.3 Advantages:

It can be used as a good soil conditioner. Compost adds nutrients to plants and helps to
retain moisture in the soil.

Composting recycles yard and kitchen waste as it diverts as much as 30% of household

Compost contain microscopic organisms which help to aerate the soil, to break down the
organic material for plant use and avoids plant disease.

It is eco-friendly as compost is used as a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.

Biogas is a mixture of different gases produced from various raw materials like manure,
agricultural waste, municipal waste, sewage, food waste, green waste by breaking down of
organic matter in the absence of oxygen.

Fig: Biogas production overview

1.2.1 Introduction: About 60% of the worlds population live in rural areas of the developing
countries whose livelihood is agriculture.
In remote areas petroleum products are not much available and they are not affordable to poor
people even if they are available and they use wood-fuels, which is an in-efficient stove and
emits harmful gases which is hazardous for health specially women.
Organic wastes which can be called as biomass consists of various materials of plant, animal and
human origin.The wastes produced from these can be profitably used to generate energy and
1.2.2 Biomass: It is present in the thin surface layer (biosphere) of the earth.The main source of
supplying energy is the sun of which about 0.5% of the solar energy striking the earth is utilized
by the plants for photosynthesis. Biomass mainly includes waste produced from plants, animals,

Fig: biomass
a) Plant waste: Energy is produced from biodegradable materials by using anaerobic digestion
process . Various plant materials such as weeds , crop residues are the source of methane, for the
better gas production these materials are mixed with animal or human waste.

Fig: waste materials from plants

b) Animal waste: they contain excellent raw material which is required for methane generation.
Cattle and buffalo dung is used to feed the digester and the mixture can be homogenized by
mixing it with water. Poultry or chicken manure is also used for biogas production. Also we can
use goat and sheep manure, horse and elephant dung .

Fig: cow dung


c) Human waste: Due to social or religious reservation, the use of human faeces and latrine waste
is limited compared to animal waste in most of the developing countries. It contains pathogens
which has offensive odour . I can cause diseases it is not treated properly ,hence the best way is
to treat the human waste in anaerobic digester which can be used to produce biogas as energy
and the effluent can be used as fertilizer.
1.2.3 Biogas production using Anaerobic digestion technology:

Anaerobic digestion process reduces the potential for odour.

It destroys pathogens, displaces fossil fuels also reduces methane emissions.

The process begins with bacterial hydrolysis of the input materials (plant,animal or
human wastes) which breks down insoluble organic polymers( carbohydrates) and makes
them available for other bacteria.

Next acidogenic bacteria converts the sugars and amino acids into carbon-di-oxide,
hydrogen, ammonia and other acids.

Acetogenic bacteria then converts the resulting organic acids into acetic acid along with
some additional things like ammonia, hydrogen and carbon-di-oxide.

Finally methogens convert the resultant products into methane and carbondioxide.

Anaerobic process can occur either naturally or in a controlled environment ( biogas


Organic wastes such as cow or cattle dung, manure and various types of bacteria are put
in a air- tight container ( digester) for the process to occur.

Fig: Anaerobic digester


The process of anaerobic digestion occurs mainly in three steps:

1. Very first step in anaerobic digestion is hydrolysis or decomposition of plant or animal wastes.
This breaks down the organic matter to usable sized molecules (sugar).
2. Second step includes the conversion of of decomposed matter to organic acids.
3. In final step the acids are converted to methane gas.
1.2.4 Applications

Biogas is used as a fuel for cooking or heating purpose.

Biogas can be used to run heat engines to generate electrical or mechanical power. It can
be compressed to control motor vehicles.

1.2.5 Advantages:

Fig: Biogas application

It helps to reduce global climate changes.

It is eco-friendly.

Fig: Biomass to electricity

It generates enough electricity .


Solid waste is useless or unwanted materials generated in residential, industrial and commercial
activities in an area. This can be classified according to its origin into domestic, commercial,
institutional, industrial or construction depending on its contents like organic material, glass,
metal, plastic paper etc. otherwise according to hazardous potential like toxic, non-toxic, radio
active etc.Solid waste management reduces impact on the environment and human health which
supports economic development and improvement in quality of life. Various stages in solid waste
management are shown in the figure below

Fig: solid waste management


2.1 Types of municipal solid waste:

2.1.1 Garbage: Food wastages , wastages from hotel and food processing units.

Fig: garbage waste

2.1.2 Rubbish: This can be further classified into following:
a) combustible rubbish: it includes paper, cottons, wood, leather and rubber.
b)non-combustible: examples for non-combustible rubbish are ceramics, glass, scrap, tins.
c) Ashes and residues: The ashes generated in clinkers, cinders, industrial burning process.
d) Bulky wastages: examples are electrical devices , keyboards etc.
e) Death animals: this is the waste generated after the animals die.
f) Construction and demolishing: wastages like brick, cement, glass, wires, cables etc.
g) Industrial waste and sludge
h) Hazardous wastages: this include biomedical waste, radio active waste and hazardous
chemical waste.

2.2 Waste collection :

Waste from homes is generally collected by the local authorities through regular waste collection
or by special collections for recycling the wastes. Within hot climates such as that of the
Caribbean the waste should be collected at least twice a week to control fly breeding and the
generation of other pests in the area around. Other factors to consider when deciding on
frequency of collection are the odour caused by decomposition of the waste material and the
quantity of the accumulated waste. Some of the collection systems are dumping at designated
location in an area, shared container, block collection, curbside collection, door to door
collection and yard collection.


waste collection

2.3 Waste treatment and disposal:

Waste treatment techniques attempt to transform the waste into a most manageable form , it will
reduce the volume or reduce the toxicity of the waste hence making the waste disposal easy.
Waste treatment methods are selected based on the composition, quantity, and form of the waste
material which is considered. Some of the waste treatment methods used today are subjecting
the waste to extremely high temperatures ( this can reduce the volume ) , dumping on land or
land filling and use of biological processes to treat the waste before disposal

Fig: Solid waste management hierarchy


2.4 Thermal treatment:

Thermal treatment uses heat to treat the waste. Some of the commonly used heat treatment
prosesses are:
2.4.1 Incineration:
Incineration is the most commonly used thermal treatment process. This is done by the
combustion of waste in presence of oxygen, after the incineration process , the wastes are
converted into carbon-di-oxide, water vapour and ash. This process can be used as a means for
recovering energy to be used in heating or the supply of electricity. In addition to supplying
energy, incineration technologies have the advantage of reducing the volume of the waste( after
heat treatment volume reduces), making it harmless, decreases transportation costs and reducing
the production of the green house gas (methane).
2.4.2 Open Burning :
The burning of unwanted materials in open air which causes smoke and other emissions to be
released directly into the air without passing through a chimney. This includes burning of
outdoor piles, burning in a burn barrel and the use of incinerators ,which does not have any
pollution control devices and hence release the gaseous by products directly into the
atmosphere. Open burning has been practiced by a number of urban centres because it reduces
the volume of wastes received at the dump so that the life of their dumpsite can be extended.
Garbage can be burnt because of the ease or cheapness of the method. In countries where house
holders are required to pay for garbage disposal, burning of waste in the backyard helps them to
pay the less costs associated with collecting, hauling and dumping the waste. It also has many
negative effects on both human health and creates environmental pollution . This uncontrolled
burning of garbage releases many pollutants into the atmosphere which pollutes the air. These
include dioxins, particulate matter, polycyclic aromatic compounds, volatile organic compounds,
carbon monoxide, hexa chloro benzene and ash content. All of these chemicals creates serious
risks to human health. The dioxins are capable of producing many health problems they can
have serious effect on reproduction, development, disturb the hormonal systems or even can
cause cancer. The polycyclic aromatic compounds and the hexachlorobenzene chemicals are
considered to be carcinogenic and are not good to release into atmosphere. The particulate matter
is harmful to persons with respiratory problems such as asthma and carbon monoxide can cause
neurological disorderness. The harmful effects of open burning are also disturbs the
environment. This process releases acidic gases such as the halo-hydrides, oxides of nitrogen and
carbon. Nitrogen oxides contribute to cause acid rain, ozone depletion, smog and global
warming( increase in earths temperature). In addition to being a green house gas carbon
monoxide reacts with sunlight to produce ozone gas which is harmful. it also creates air


2.5 Dumps and landfills:

2.5.1 Sanitary Landfills:
It is designed to greatly reduce the risks that waste disposal may create to the public health. The
area should comprise of clay soil, absence of surface water bodies inorder to avoid water
The landfill is divided into series of individual cells out of only few cells of the site are filled
with trash at a time. This will minimize exposure to wind and rain. The daily waste is spread and
compacted to reduce the volume, a cover is then applied to reduce odours and keep out pests
spread over the area. When the landfill has reached its capacity by the waste solid material it is
capped with an impermeable seal which is typically composed of clay soil.

Fig: main features of a modern landfill


2.5.2 Controlled Dumps:

These are disposal sites which comply with most of the requirements needed for a sanitary
landfill but it usually has one deficiency. They have a planned capacity but has no cell planning,
there may be partial leachate management, regular cover, compaction in some cases, basic
record keeping and they are enclosed. These dumps have a reduced risk of environmental
contamination, the initial costs are less compared to other types and the operational costs are
moderate. While there is controlled access and use they are still accessible by scavengers and
hence there is some recovery of materials through this practice.

Fig: solid waste dumping


2.5.3 Integrated Solid Waste Management:

It takes an over all approach for creating sustainable systems. It involves the use of a variety of
treatment methods. All the available treatment processes are evaluated and the best combination
is used.

Fig: elements of integrated solid waste management


It is the process that refers to the collection and reuse of materials like empty beverage
containers. It is a resource recovery process.

Fig: recycling
Various materials that can be used for recycling are shown in the figure below and the materials
from which the items are made can be reprocessed into new products by recycling.

Fig: different materials used for recycling


2) the paper is separated by its type and the contaminated paper is removed.

Fig:separation of paper
3)The sorted paper is baled.

Fig: baled paper

4) the paper is mixed well with water in a container ( hydropulper).

Fig: hydro pulper


5) That is allowed for several hours and the pulp is done.

Fig: paper pulp

6)This pulp is poured on a screen , it is allowed to dry and then rolled.

Fig: drying paper

7) The rolled paper is used to make new paper products.

Fig: producing new paper