Methods of Waste Management
What is Waste Management?
Waste management (or waste disposal) includes the processes and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste, together with monitoring and regulation of the waste management process and waste-related laws, technologies, and economic mechanisms.
Solid, liquid, or gas waste is a common by-product of many industries. Different disposal and storage methods are required for each type of waste. Waste management concerns all forms of trash, including industrial, biological, residential, municipal, organic and biowaste from medical facilities. As skip bin hire falls within the Waste Management industry, we’ve taken the time to put together a helpful article for you.
Waste Management in Australia
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia generated 75.8 million tonnes of solid waste in 2018-19, which was a 10% increase over the two prior years (since 2016-17). The Construction industry alone spent the most on waste services ($2 billion), 35% increase since 2016-17. Sectors that generate the most waste within Australia were:
- Manufacturing: 12.8 million tonnes (16.9%)
- Construction: 12.7 million tonnes (16.8%)
- Households: 12.4 million tonnes (16.3%)
- Electricity, gas and water services: 10.9 million tonnes (14.4%)
What are the methods of Waste Management?
The most common methods of waste management are landfill, incineration, composting, recycling, Anaerobic digestion, waste-to-energy, Plasma gasification and Thermal desorption.
Each has its own advantages and disadvantages which we discuss in this article.
A landfill site can be used for the disposal of wastes on land where refuse is placed in shallow trenches or pits dug into natural deposits like sand or clay which limits contact with air so that decomposition is significantly slowed down. Once a landfill site reaches capacity, it will be closed off and covered with soil (called capping). Capping helps to control odours, toxic fumes, pests and fire hazards as well as prevent leachate (toxic chemicals that have seeped out from buried solid wastes) from contaminating groundwater supplies. Landfill sites are currently the most common form of waste disposal, but they take up large areas of land, can produce methane gas – a potent greenhouse gas – and leachate contamination is always a risk.
Incineration is a waste management method that involves burning waste materials to convert it into ash, flue gas and heat. The main advantages of incineration are that it reduces the volume of solid waste by up to 90% and produces a sanitized end product that can be used as fill-in construction projects or land reclamation activities. However, incineration can be very expensive, and it produces emissions that can be harmful to human health and contribute to air pollution.
Composting is the process of breaking down organic waste, such as food waste and yard trimmings, into a rich soil amendment called compost. Composting is an effective way to reduce the volume of solid waste, and it can also help improve the quality of your soil. There are many benefits to composting including:
- Helping to reduce waste volumes – it is one of the most beneficial waste reduction methods.
- Improve the quality of your soil.
- Reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Encouraging the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi
Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be considered waste and turning them into new products. Recycling can help to reduce energy consumption, lower harmful greenhouse gases, and conserve resources. When you recycle, you are helping to keep these valuable resources from ending up in landfills or incinerators. By making recycling a part of your everyday routine, you can make a big impact on the environment.
Anaerobic digestion is a process that breaks down organic waste in the absence of oxygen. The resulting biogas can be used to generate electricity and heat, or it can be processed into renewable natural gas and transportation fuels. Anaerobic digestion can also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon emissions such as carbon dioxide and the volume of solid waste.
Waste-to-energy (WTE) is a process that uses Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to generate electricity or other forms of energy. WTE plants incinerate MSW to produce steam, which is then used to generate electricity.
Plasma gasification is a process that uses plasma torches to convert waste into a syngas (a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide) that can be used to generate electricity or produce other chemicals.
This technology converts commodity recyclables extracted from solid waste in landfill into energy. Carbon-based materials are subjected to extreme temperatures and transformed into syngas, which may be burned directly or refined into chemicals and higher-grade fuels. The waste that can’t be converted into organic materials is turned into slag, which is a solid waste product that can be used in construction. Companies who want to achieve zero waste prefer this waste disposal method.
Thermal desorption is a process that uses heat to separate hazardous contaminants from solid waste. The resulting treated waste can then be disposed of in a landfill or incinerated. Following this, the volatilized contaminants are either absorbed or thermally destroyed. The desorber and offgas treatment system are the two main components of a thermal desorption system.
Which two methods of waste management are best for society?
Recycling and composting are generally considered to be the best methods of waste management for society as a whole. It is not an easy question to answer as it depends on a variety of factors, including the type and amount of waste, the available resources, and the goals of the community. Recycling helps to reduce energy consumption and the volume of waste, while composting can improve the quality of soil and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
Which two methods of waste management are worst for society?
Burning waste and dumping it in landfills are generally considered to be the worst methods of waste management for society. Burning waste creates air pollution and contributes to climate change, while dumping waste in landfills creates environmental hazards and can leach harmful chemicals into the ground.
There are many different methods of waste management – each with its own advantages and disadvantages. It is essential to carefully consider all options before deciding on a particular method as there are many factors to take into account such as cost, efficiency, environmental impact etc. Different methods may also be more suitable for different types of waste so it is important to match the right method to the right type of waste before implementing your waste management system.