This is a simple guide to individuals on handling the household waste that they generate. It has two parts:
Part 1 gives a broader overview of the legislations on waste management and handling. It also lists out the broad options available for large-scale waste disposal. Part 2 lists out simple steps that individuals can follow to segregate the waste they generate at source.
Part 1 – Waste management regulations and disposal methods
What is waste management?
Waste management is the collection, transportation and disposal of waste materials.
What are the rules and regulations guiding waste management in India
Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000 regulate the management and handling of the municipal solid wastes and are applicable to every municipal authority responsible for collection, segregation, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of municipal solid wastes
Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 regulate the management and handling of bio-medical waste and are applicable to all persons who generate, collect, receive, store, transport, treat, dispose, or handle bio medical waste in any form.
E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2010 regulate the management and handling of electrical and electronic waste and is applicable to every producer, consumer involved in manufacture, sale, purchase and processing of these equipments or its components.
What are the common methods of waste disposal?
The commonly practiced technologies for SWM can be grouped under three major categories, i.e., bio-processing, thermal processing and sanitary landfill. The bio-processing method includes aerobic and anaerobic composting. Thermal methods are incineration and pyrolysis. Sanitary landfill is generally used to dispose off the final rejects coming out of the biological and thermal waste processing units.
What is aerobic composting?
Aerobic composting is the creation of fertilizing compost using bacteria that thrive in an oxygen-rich environment. Aerobic composting is considered the fastest method of composting, but involves more work in terms of rotating the organic material periodically.
What is anaerobic composting?
Anaerobic composting is the creation of fertilising compost using bacteria that cannot thrive in the presence of oxygen. Anaerobic composting is known to work slowly, but also requires lesser work.
What is incineration?
Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas, and heat. In some cases, the heat generated by incineration can be used to generate electric power.
What is a sanitary landfill?
A sanitary landfill is a low-lying area that is filled with waste rejects. It has a liner at the bottom to prevent the groundwater from contaminating with the mix of the liquid that oozes from the waste that is buried called the leachate. Waste is buried in-between layers of soil and is compacted nicely to make it a hard surface. When the landfill is completed, it is capped with a layer of clay or a synthetic liner in order to prevent water from entering. A final topsoil cover is placed, compacted and graded, and various forms of vegetation may be planted in order to reclaim the otherwise useless land.
Part 2 – Easy and effective ways for individuals to handle waste
How do I practice waste management at home?
- Keep separate containers for dry and wet waste in the kitchen.
- Keep two bags for dry waste collection- paper and plastic, for the rest of the household waste.
- Keep plastic from the kitchen clean and dry and drop into the dry waste bin. Keep glass /plastic containers rinsed of food matter.
- Keep a paper bag for throwing sanitary waste.
What are the first few steps to initiate a waste management programme in your apartment complex?
- Form a group with like-minded people.
- Explain waste segregation to your family / neighbours in your apartment building.
- Get the staff in the apartment building to also understand its importance.
- Get separate storage drums for storing dry and wet waste.
- Have the dry waste picked up by the dry waste collection centre or your local scrap dealer.
What are the different types of waste?
Wet waste consists of kitchen waste – including vegetable and fruit peels and pieces, tea leaves, coffee grounds, eggshells, bones and entrails, fish scales, as well as cooked food (both veg and non-veg).
Paper, plastics, metal, glass, rubber, thermocol, styrofoam, fabric, leather, rexine, wood – anything that can be kept for an extended period without decomposing is classified as dry waste.
Household hazardous waste or HHW include three sub-categories – E-waste; toxic substances such as paints, cleaning agents, solvents, insecticides and their containers, other chemicals; and biomedical waste.
E-waste or electronic waste consists of batteries, computer parts, wires, electrical equipment of any kind, electrical and electronic toys, remotes, watches, cell phones, bulbs, tube lights and CFLs.
This includes used menstrual cloth, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, bandages and any material that is contaminated with blood or other body fluids.
What are ways of storing the waste at homes?
Store it in a bag in the utility area after cleaning and drying till it is picked up. No food residue must be left in the bottles and packets. Clean them as you would to reuse them. If clothes are totally unusable, or very damaged, they are categorized as dry waste. If clothes are soiled with body fluids, they become sanitary waste. If they are soiled with paint, or any chemicals, they are HHW (household hazardous waste).
Store them in separate container which is kept closed, away from moisture and in which nothing else is put.
How do I dispose my waste?
Compost your wet waste at home
Home composting can easily be done in any aerated container. Get more details on composting and begin composting today!
Compost your wet waste at the community level
If you live in a large apartment building, a community composting system like tank composting could be set up for all the wet waste from the residents. If not, the wet waste can be given out every day to your Municipality collection system.
Biomedical waste has to be wrapped separately in a newspaper and handed over to the municipality waste collection system. Expired medicines and injections, used syringes also have to be disposed in the same manner.
Paint and other hazardous waste like cosmetics, mosquito repellents, tube lights etc have to be stored separately and handed over to the Municipal collection system.
How do I manage my garden waste?
You can compost your garden waste. There are several decentralized, easy to use methods available for composting garden waste. Here is a step-by-step guide to treat garden waste.