Solid Waste Management

By | June 13, 2014


Solid waste management is an essential concept in the day to day life. Due to increase of many industries and man- made things, a lot of waste gets collected which is hazardous to the environment and its occupants. These wastes can be Recycled, Disposed, Buried or burnt and make the environment clean and free from hazardous solid wastes.

This paper illustrates about “Solid waste management” its Types , Hazards and Measures to reduce it. It deals with the mechanical and biological methods to treat the solid wastes.

Solid Waste Management

Waste management is the collection, transport, processing or disposal, managing and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and the process is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics. Waste management is a distinct practice from resource recovery which focuses on delaying the rate of consumption of natural resources. All wastes materials, whether they are solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive fall within the remit of waste management

 Waste management practices can differ for developed and developing nations, for urban and rural areas, and for residential and industrial producers. Management of non-hazardous waste residential and institutional waste in metropolitan areas is usually the responsibility of local government authorities, while management for non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste is usually the responsibility of the generator subject to local, national or international controls.

Some types of wastes are:

Agricultural waste

Biodegradable waste

Biomedical waste

Chemical waste

Hazardous waste

Radioactive waste

 Recycling processes

1.Mechanical Biological Treatment

A mechanical biological treatment[MBT] system is a type of waste processing facility that combines a sorting facility with a form of  biological treatment such as composting or anaerobic digestion. MBT plants are designed to process mixed household waste as well as commercial and industrial wastes.

Recycling process

Process flow chart

The terms ‘mechanical biological treatment’ or ‘mechanical biological pre-treatment’ relate to a group of solid waste treatment systems. These systems enable the recovery of materials contained within the mixed waste and facilitate the stabilization of the biodegradable component of the material.

The “mechanical” element is usually an automated mechanical sorting stage. This either removes recyclable elements from a mixed waste stream (such as metals, plastics, glass and paper) or processes them. It typically involves factory style conveyors, industrial magnets, eddy current separators, trommels, shredders and other tailor made systems, or the sorting is done manually at hand picking stations. The mechanical element has a number of similarities to a materials recovery facility (MRF).

Some systems integrate a wet MRF to separate by density and floatation and to recover & wash the recyclable elements of the waste in a form that can be sent for recycling. MBT can alternatively process the waste to produce a high calorific fuel termed refuse derived fuel (RDF). RDF can be used in cement kilns or thermal combustion power plants and is generally made up from plastics and biodegradable organic waste. Systems which are configured to produce RDF include the Herhof and Ecodeco Processes. It is a common misconception that all MBT processes produce RDF. This is not the case and depends strictly on system configuration and suitable local markets for MBT outputs.

 Firstly  all the mixed solid wastes that have been collected from the domestic houses, factories, etc by various transporting units and technologies is been  sorted into metallic, non-metallic, plastic, glass, etc. , the re-usable part is than transferred to the recycling unit where it is been recycled. And the remaining inorganic wastes that cannot be recycled is buried into the landfill.


i. Anaerobic digestion

Anaerobic digestion harnesses anaerobic micro-organisms to break down the biodegradable component of the waste to produce biogas and soil improver. The biogas can be used to generate electricity and heat.In  the organic component is broken down by naturally occurring aerobic micro-organisms. They breakdown the waste into carbon dioxide and compost. There is no green energy produced by systems employing only composting treatment for the biodegradable waste.


Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter (leaves, “green” food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture. Worms and fungi further break up the material. Aerobic bacteria manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium. The ammonium is further converted by bacteria into plant-nourishing nitrites and nitrates through the process of nitrification.

Compost can be rich in nutrients. It is used in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, and agriculture. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. In ecosystems, compost is useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover (see compost uses). Organic ingredients intended for composting can alternatively be used to generate biogas through anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion is fast overtaking composting in some parts of the world including central Europe as a primary means of down-cycling waste organic matter.

The waste material undergoes a period of rapid heating through the action of aerobic microbes. During this partial composting stage the heat generated by the microbes result in rapid drying of the waste. These systems are often configured to produce a refuse-derived fuel where a dry, light material is advantageous for later transport combustion.

Some systems incorporate both anaerobic digestion and composting. This may either take the form of a full anaerobic digestion phase, followed by the maturation (composting) of the digestate. Alternatively a partial anaerobic digestion phase can be induced on water that is percolated through the raw waste, dissolving the readily available sugars, with the remaining material being sent to a windrow composting facility.

Author: Ravi Bandakkanavar

A Techie, Blogger, Web Designer, Programmer by passion who aspires to learn new Technologies every day. A founder of Krazytech. It's been 10+ years since I am publishing articles and enjoying every bit of it. I want to share the knowledge and build a great community with people like you.

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