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Types of waste

Generally, waste could be liquid or solid waste. Both of them could be hazardous. Liquid and
solid waste types can also be grouped into organic, re-usable and recyclable waste.
Let us see some details below:

Liquid type:
Waste can come in non-solid form. Some solid waste can also be converted to a liquid waste
form for disposal. It includes point source and non-point source discharges such as storm water
and wastewater. Examples of liquid waste include wash water from homes, liquids used for
cleaning in industries and waste detergents.

Solid type:
Solid waste predominantly, is any garbage, refuse or rubbish that we make in our homes and
other places. These include old car tires, old newspapers, broken furniture and even food waste.
They may include any waste that is non-liquid.

Hazardous type:
Hazardous or harmful waste are those that potentially threaten public health or the environment.
Such waste could be inflammable (can easily catch fire), reactive (can easily explode), corrosive
(can easily eat through metal) or toxic (poisonous to human and animals). In many countries, it
is required by law to involve the appropriate authority to supervise the disposal of such
hazardous waste. Examples include fire extinguishers, old propane tanks, pesticides, mercury-
containing equipment (e.g, thermostats) and lamps (e.g. fluorescent bulbs) and batteries.

Organic type:
Organic waste comes from plants or animals sources. Commonly, they include food waste, fruit
and vegetable peels, flower trimmings and even dog poop can be classified as organic waste.
They are biodegradable (this means they are easily broken down by other organisms over time
and turned into manure). Many people turn their organic waste into compost and use them in
their gardens.

Recyclable type:
Recycling is processing used materials (waste) into new, useful products. This is done to reduce
the use of raw materials that would have been used. Waste that can be potentially recycled is
termed "Recyclable waste". Aluminum products (like soda, milk and tomato cans), Plastics
(grocery shopping bags, plastic bottles), Glass products (like wine and beer bottles, broken
glass), Paper products (used envelopes, newspapers and magazines, cardboard boxes) can be
recycled and fall into this category.
Classification of Wastes

The wastes include kitchen waste, papers, construction materials, old tyres, medical wastes, etc. In order to
understand the severity of the problem and to work towards a solution, one must understand the types of wastes
being generated.

Wastes can be classified into:

 Biodegradable Wastes - The biodegradable wastes are those that can be decomposed by the natural
processes and converted into the elemental form. For example, kitchen garbage, animal dung, etc.
 Non-biodegradable Wastes - The non-biodegradable wastes are those that cannot be decomposed and
remain as such in the environment. They are persistent and can cause various problems. For example,
plastics, nuclear wastes, glass, etc.

Sources of Wastes - Some of the most common sources of wastes are as follows:

 Domestic wastes
o It includes the wastes generated in houses. It includes paper, plastic, glass, ceramics, polythene,
textiles, vegetable waste, etc.
 Commercial wastes
o It includes the waste generated in commercial establishments like shops, printers, offices,
godowns, etc. It includes packing materials, spoiled goods, vegetable and meat remnants,
polythene, printer paper, etc.
 Ashes
o They come from the burning of solid fossil fuels like coal, wood and coke. Many houses and road
side eateries still use these fuels. Open burning of wastes also generates ashes.
 Animal wastes
o It includes the dung of the animals that are left to find food for themselves on the streets Their
reject feed also add to the wastes.
 Biomedical wastes
o These wastes are generated from the hospitals and include expired drugs, plastic syringes, surgical
dressings, etc. They can be very infectious.
 Construction wastes
o With booming population, there is also booming construction activity going on in the urban areas.
They also generate garbage like metal rods, bricks, cement, concrete, roofing materials, etc. This
type of wastes is also generated by the digging activites of the various departments like the
telephone, electricity, drainage, etc.
 Industrial Solid Wastes
o Small-scale industries generate some wastes. For example, garment factory would dump textiles
of various kinds.
 Sewer
o The sewer removed from the sewerage during cleaning is often left on the roadside. This poses
several health hazards to the public.
 Hazardous wastes
o Some of these wastes are also classified as hazardous wastes. are those that are potentially
dangerous and can cause diseases, fire, etc. The hazardous wastes include toxic wastes. Toxic
wastes are those that are poisonous in nature. Hazardous wastes are those that catch fire easily,
react explosively with air or water, corrode other materials, are toxic or radioactive. The
radioactive wastes are particularly dangerous as they cause lasting damage such as change in the
genetic structure of individuals (mutation).
Health effects of waste management

The potential environmental health impacts of waste management of municipal solid waste
(MSW) are poorly understood, especially when the different aspects of the full chain process
(waste production, collection, transport, recycling, treatment, disposal) are taken into

To evaluate these impacts, a prognostic assessment was carried out in Lazio (a region in Central
Italy with about 5.5 million inhabitants including Rome). The assessment compared two future
waste management scenarios, reflecting different sustainable strategies, with a business-as-usual
scenario. Effects of exposures to airborne pollutants (particles, nitrogen dioxide, dioxins,
bioaerosols, biogas, oodours and occupational accidents) were conmsidered, from three main
activities: waste transport, landfill sites, mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) and
incineration. Health effects associated with mortality (mainly from cardiovascular and
respiratory causes), adult cancers, congenital malformations, respiratory symptoms, odour
annoyance and physical injuries were assessed, and aggregated into an overall measure of the
disease burden (in disease-adjusted life years).

Results showed an overall moderate impact on health. The most important heath impacts were
due to occupational accidents related to the

collection, loading and transport of waste. Transport of waste (often done using highly polluting
trucks) is also an important (and often neglected) cause of exposure to air pollution. Impacts
from landfills and and incinerators is limited due to the strict legislation on emissions, but both
landfills and mechanical-biological treatment plants were responsible for a considerable impact
in the form of respiratory symptoms and odour annoyance. The main opportunity to reduce
health impacts in the future would be through policies that encourage waste reduction, recycling,
clean transport, composting and waste treatment before the final destination.

The findings also suggest an important equity issue, evidenced by the differential distribution of
impacts by social group, espicially for people living close to management plants. The same
applies to occupational injuries among workers. These equity issues were not resolved even by
the most radical Green strategy. More attention to equity issues is therefore needed in waste
management planning and operation.