Waste management is a subtotal of various activities that are involved in managing waste from its point of generation to its final step of disposal. The process includes collection, transportation, and treatment of the waste as well as monitoring the waste management process. Waste may be in the form of solids, liquids and gases; all of which have different methods of management.
Almost every industry generates some form of solid waste. This has raised the need to come up with proper methods of disposal. Many industries have opted to outsource waste management. For instance, there are companies in Sydney that offer skip bins on hire to interested clients. Skip bins provide an effective method of dealing with non-toxic solid waste. Once the skip bins are full, the hired waste management company is contacted to come and take away the waste for disposal purposes.
There are many methods used to manage solid waste. Examples include sanitary landfills, incineration, recycling, and composting. Sanitary landfills involve spreading the solid waste in thin layers, compressing it and then covering it in the soil. When a landfill is full of waste, it is covered with sand and gravel to ensure that there is no water seepage. Incineration involves burning the solid waste at high temperatures until it turns into ash. It is an effective method since it compacts the volume of the waste into about 20 to 30 per cent of the initial volume. Recycling aims at recovering useful resources then cleaning and preparing them for use in the production process. Composting is particularly useful for degradable solid waste, where the waste is decomposed in specially designed mediums.
This should be treated before it is disposed of. The most common methods used in managing toxic waste include thermal, biological, and chemical methods. Examples of chemical treatment methods include ion exchange, oxidation, and reduction. They aim at converting toxic waste into other harmless compounds. A common thermal treatment method used in treating toxic waste is high-temperature incineration. It is an effective method of detoxifying a majority of organic waste. An example of biological treatment is landfilling. The waste is spread into thin layers that are mixed with soil on carefully identified areas. Microbes are then added to the waste for purposes of metabolising it. In physical treatment, toxic waste is first concentrated before it is solidified for purposes of reducing its volume. The main physical processes include evaporation, sedimentation, flotation, and filtration.
This often arises from the water used for both cleaning and cooling purposes in industries. Common methods used to manage liquid waste include sedimentation, dewatering, composting, solidification, and root zoning. In sedimentation, liquid waste is allowed to settle to allow the collection of any solid particles present into a sediment basin. Liquid waste may also be composted to degrade any foreign material suspended in the wastewater. During treatment, a large portion of the water is removed, and the organic waste left is converted into organic fertiliser.
Waste management is an important process that aims at reducing waste and making the environment less clogged with unusable waste. It also emphasises the need to recycle waste to reduce the pressure on landfills.