Solid waste is any material that has been discarded and is no longer useful to its original “owner”.
Solid waste can create significant health problems and a very unpleasant living environment if not disposed of safely and appropriately. If not correctly disposed of, waste may provide breeding sites for insect-vectors, pests and vermin that increase the likelihood of disease transmission. It may also pollute water sources and the environment.
Solid waste management takes into consideration the following key components:
- Waste generation
- Storage and containerization
- Set out
- Final disposal.
- Generation of solid waste is the stage at which materials become valueless to the owner and since they have no use for them and require them no longer, they wish to get rid of them. Items which may be valueless to one individual may not necessarily be valueless to another.
- Separation – segregation of waste into the different fractions eg. plastics, paper, tins, cans, cardboard etc
- Storage containerization – waste can be stored in a variety of containers. These include: plastic bags, 55 gallon plastic or metal drums, garbage bins, buckets, concrete/wooden dirt boxes, sacks and carton boxes.
- Set out – this refers to the placement of waste either on the curb side or in front of the property for collection. Containers used for storing waste are normally the same receptacles that are set out.
- Collection – The physical removal and transportation of garbage and refuse from residences, businesses, institutions, amenity areas, street/road side and other areas to a treatment facility or to final disposal.
- Transportation/Transfer – normally waste is transported from the household level to the intermediate or final disposal site in the same vehicle in which it is collected. When the waste is taken to an intermediate site namely a transfer station, the waste is tipped, separated and the residual waste is placed in larger containers for transfer to the final disposal site which in our case is the sanitary landfill.
- Treatment – composting is one recommended method of waste treatment.
- Final disposal – this is the final stage of solid waste management it entails the safe disposal of solid waste where associated risks are minimized. There are two main methods of disposal of solid waste: land application (burial or landfilling) or burning or incineration