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Waste Management Study

Updated on December 6, 2010

Guiding Principles of Solid Waste Management

There are seven principles that serve as guidelines in the planning and creation of a community's solid waste management program:

Waste is a resource.

When something is thrown away, it will not disappear or disintegrate.  It will only end up somewhere else in some other form.  When waste ends up where it is not suppose to be, it becomes useless, causes pollution and poses health risks.  On the other hand, when waste is put in the right place, it becomes a valuable resource.

Waste prevention is better than waste regulation and control.

As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". The same is true with waste.  Traditionally, waste management only starts after the waste is generated.  As such, activities have focused largely on regulation and control.

Prevention means waste avoidance, reuse, recycling, and waste recovery.  Through these activities, there will be less waste to collect and dispose of, less landfill space required, better conservation of natural resources, and reduced pollution of the land, water and air.

There is no single management and technological approach to solid waste.  An integrated solid waste management system will best achieve solid waste management goals.

Waste management includes various activities such as the identification of sources and types of solid wastes, examination of the physical and chemical composition of solid waste, determination of waste generation rates and other influencing factors.
Proper solid waste management is a mission for all.  Each sector has a particular responsibility. The overall success of a solid waste management system will substantially depend on the national government support, public participation and involvement, and private sector initiatives and participation.

Those who generate waste must bear the cost of its management and disposal.

Solid waste management does not incur costs and liabilities.  Commonly, people are not aware of the full costs associated with the management of wastes they generate.

Solid waste management should be approached within the context of resource conservation, environmental protection and health, and sustainable development.

The problem of today's solid waste, if improperly handled, carries implications not only on the environment but also on the health and well-being of future generations.

Solid waste management programs should take into consideration the physical and socio-economic conditions of the concerned communities, and be designed according to the specific needs.

Different localities have different solid waste problems.  A rural municipality's waste greatly differs from that of a highly urbanized city. The character and type of solid waste from coastal villages will be different from those of mining communities.

The Mechanics of Solid Waste Management

1. Waste generation
2. On-site storage
3. Collection
4. Transfer and transport
5. Processing and recovery
6. Disposal

Sources of solid waste in a community

1. Household wastes
2. Commercial-industrial wastes-wastes generated by restaurants, eateries, offices, markets, plants, mills and factories
3. Farm and agricultural wastes
4. Institutional wastes-wastes generated by hospitals, schools, churches and prisons.
5. Mining wastes
6. Miscellaneous and specialized wastes
7. Hazardous wastes-toxic or lethal, non-degradable

Factors that affect waste generation

1. The state of the national economy
2. The lifestyle of the people
3. The demographic profile of the population
4. The size and type of dwelling
5. Age
6. Religion
7. The extent to which the 3Rs are carried out
8. Presence of pets and domestic animals
9. Seasonal variations
10.Presence of laws and ordinances governing waste management
11.Company buy-back guarantees for used containers and packaging


Segregation begins at home

The success of any solid waste management program begins with the active participation of each individual member of the community.  Its far-reaching benefits to health and the environment will be felt most of all by the individual.

Waste segregation refers to a solid waste management practice of separating different materials found in solid waste in order to promote recycling and re-use of resources and to reduce the volume of waste for collection and disposal.

With segregation, waste becomes a source that has yet to find its rightful place or proper use. Biodegradable waste from the kitchen and garden can be converted into compost or fertilizers for the soil.  Newspapers, dry cardboard, bottles, tin cans, and old clothes and rags can be sold to itinerant buyers or junk dealers.

Classification of solid waste in a household:

1. Compostable/biodegradable waste

a. Kitchen wastes
b. Garden wastes
c. Animal wastes
d. Human wastes

2. Recyclable non-biodegradable waste

a. Metals
b. Glass
c. Rubber
d. Dry paper/cartons
e. Cloth/dry processed fiber
f. Dry leather/feathers
g. Hard shells
h. Recyclable plastics/plastic containers

3. Non-recyclable/residual waste

a. Sanitary napkins
b. Disposable diapers
c. Used/worn-out rugs
d. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) containers often used as cooking oil or salad dressing bottles
e. Ceramics
f. Composite packaging (tetrapaks)
g. Candy wrappers/sachets
h. Containers made from multiple layers of plastic such as squeezable bottles

4. Special/hazardous household waste

a. Paints
b. Thinners
c. Batteries
d. Spray canisters
e. Tires
f. Worn-out/broken radios, stereos, and TV sets
g. Large worn-out or broken household appliances such as stoves,refrigerators,dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers

The 3Rs of Solid Waste Management

Avoid wasteful consumption of goods.  Begin by asking yourself: "Do I really need it?" In doing so, we minimize waste and conserve our natural resources.  Reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging.  Adopt practices that reduce waste toxicity.

Whenever practicable, reuse items that are still useful instead of just throwing them away.  Maintain and repair durable products.  Borrow, rent or share items that are not used frequently.  Sell or donate goods instead of throwing them out. It would greatly help if we patronize goods that are reusable, rather we patronize goods that are reusable, rather than throwaway types.

Waste should be treated as a valuable resource.  Items that are useless or of little value to one person often have significant value to another within a different setting or time.  The process whereby portions of waste material are sorted and used for something of benefit is called recycling.

Tips for the consumer on practicing 3Rs

1. Avoid over-packaged goods.
2. Avoid or limit the use of disposable goods such as throwaway razors, pens, diapers, and cameras.
3. Buy food in bulk.
4. Buy durable products.
5. Compost yard clippings and leaves.
6. Patronize recycled and recyclable goods.
7. Promote community "curbside" recycling programs.
8. Eliminate household toxic wastes from the garbage stream.
9. Limit the use of toxic substances or use substitutes.
10.Patronize products that are made from renewable, rather than non-renewable resources.
11.Patronize biodegradable products.
12. Take the time to read and know about what constitutes bio-degradable and recyclables.


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