Modes of Waste Disposals


Each day, tonnes of waste is being generated from multiple sources. For a healthy environment and neighbourhood, there must be a balance between the disposal of waste with its production. Unfortunately, the pace at which we are generating the waste is far ahead than the disposal which is resulting in the excessive accumulation of rubbish and industrial wastes. The scientific approach towards waste management and the strategic operations in processing them can reduce the burden of rubbish. Waste management is a science involving a sequence of steps; including disposal,  collection, processing, recycling or deposition of the waste materials around us. Waste can be found in a variety of materialistic forms. It can be solids, liquids, synthetic wastes such as plastics, E-waste, biological wastes like human wastes and medical wastes, industrial wastes, nuclear wastes( radiation ) and garbage( household waste). In this article let’s focus on the general principles in managing various types of wastes with a major focus on garbage management. 

Waste management or Waste disposal is all the activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes amongst other things, collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste together with monitoring and regulation. It also encompasses the legal and regulatory framework that relates to waste management encompassing guidance on recycling etc.


Principles of waste management

  1. Waste hierarchy

  2. Understanding the life-cycle of a product

  3. Resource efficiency

  4. Polluter-pays principle


The waste hierarchy is the application of 3Rs -reduce, reuse and recycle. The 3R-strategy helps to extract the maximum practical benefits from products as well as to reduce the amount of end waste. According to the waste management hierarchy, the waste must be reduced to the minimum. Despite the reduction, if the waste is found then go for reuse strategy and recycle if there is a possibility however, recycling may not be possible in all the cases. Understanding the life of a product is the knowledge about how the product cycle begins and how it ends. It begins from design, then moves to the manufacture, distribution, and then primary use which finally leads to waste. Here starts the 3Rs principle again.  Product life-cycle analysis allows optimizing the use of the world's limited resources by avoiding the unnecessary generation of waste. Resource efficiency is the clear perception and understanding the fact that the world has more waste than the production. By wisely using the available resources we can avoid the exhaustion of the natural resources as well as the generation of excess wastes.  The polluter-pays principle helps to penalize the person or firm involving in excess of waste production and poor management of the same.



Waste management in the Indian scenario

India has seen a drastic rise in the waste each year. The magnitude of the problem is increasing at the rate of y 1.3% per annum. As the urban population is on the rise, urban areas produce around 5% excess than every preceding year. As per the 2018 statistics, India generates around 42 million tons of municipal solid waste a year. Per capita generation of waste range from a minimum of  200 grams to 600 grams and the average waste generation rate is 0.4 kg per capita per day in 1,00000 plus towns. Currently, the waste collection efficiency is between 50% to   90% of solid waste generated. Our urban local bodies spend about Rs.500/-   to Rs.1500/- per ton of solid waste   management. The total quantity of solid waste generated in the urban area is  1.15 lakh tonne per day( TPD).  Indian waste encompasses about  30% – 55% of biodegradable matter and inert material is about  40% – 45% and the recyclable materials stands at 5% to 10%.


Garbage Disposal

Garbage is the waste generated out of human activities usually from the domestic activities. The rise in population, industrialization, changes in the lifestyle of people and rise in demand for consumer goods have created a major problem in the form of a huge quantity of wastes. This has resulted in the garbage accumulation in many urban areas. It is the duty of every individual and the agencies to curb the wastes by demonstrating the necessary support.



Most common methods of waste disposal

1. Open dumping: It’s the most unsafe and unhygienic but conventional method of waste disposal . This is because, in a conventional method, wastes get spreads  by animals, rain and other invading sources which eventually  cause pollution in and around the areas of disposal.

2. Land fillings: Wastes are being drawn to a low living area and are compacted by rolling with bulldozers on them. This will allow the waste to be tightly packed deep underground. This is good for solid wastes but not for the liquid wastes.

3. Composting: This is one of the best options for managing the organic wastes. While composting, the wastes are filled into a compost pit, measuring 2m x 1m x 1m followed by spreading a thin soil layer above the waste. By 3 months the organic wastes can turn into organic manure.

4. Recycling: It is the most useful and essential method of waste management. and it is suitable for both the biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes. Recycling helps to break the solid wastes into simpler materials and the broken materials will be reused for a different purpose. For example, plastic cans are molten to reuse as cans or as different substance.

5. Reuse: It is the simple and traditional technique of using an item again & again. For example, paper can be reused for making envelopes.

6. Remote processing: This is useful if the waste is radioactive and easily spreads. This is not advisable because, in a remote processing strategy, the nuclear wastes are dumped in a place where there are no human habitats.

7. Incineration or burning: It is used in hospitals and biomedical wastes. The waste is burnt at a very high temperature by using an incinerator.



Further reading


Environmental issues


Water pollution and its control


Sewage treatment


Solid waste management






Course List