What is waste?
The residues are waste products generated daily by people in their homes and workers in productive activities that make up the economic chain. These waste products, which can be solid, liquid or gaseous, generally have no value due to the lack of profitable technology for reuse or given the absence of a stable market that demands it. The amount of waste is known to increase with the number of inhabitants, industrial development and economic growth.
As the accumulation of waste can cause various inconveniences (proliferation of rodents and insects, contamination of rivers and aquifers, bad odors, etc.), in today’s societies this is to avoid through waste management , which is well-founded planning what to do with waste as it appears in the ecosystem.
Classification and Types of waste
Waste can be classified based on different criteria:
Due to its physical state : solids, liquids, gaseous
For their activity once they enter the ecosystem : inert, active, radioactive.
By its origin : primary, secondary or tertiary.
Those of primary origin are those that are generated during basic productive activities for the use of natural resources; some examples are:
1. Agricultural (manure, bagasse)
2. Forest (must not accumulate due to the risk of fire).
3. Miners: include those from the prospecting, extraction and storage stages, and can be solid or liquid. Example: heavy metals.
4. Associated with oil extraction
Those of secondary origin are those that are generated during the manufacture of food, everyday items, household appliances, or in specific processes. They are divided into two basic categories, industrial and radioactive, the first of which has various subtypes:
Inert: they are those who do not undergo significant physical, chemical or biological transformations. They are not soluble, they are not combustible, nor do they react with each other (or with the components of the environment), so they do not affect other materials with which they can come into contact (examples: glass, debris).
b. Assimilated to urban waste: paper, cardboard, plastics
c. Toxic and Dangerous (RTP):
- Flammable and explosive.
- Toxic: paints, solvents, heavy metals.
- Reagents: products that react with others, sometimes violently and therefore risky.
Radioactive : they originate in nuclear power plants and in facilities where radioactive materials are used for different purposes, such as uranium mineral treatment plants, hospitals, etc. Also those that are generated in research activities.
Those of tertiary origin are basically of two types:
to. Health or clinical. They are those originated in health facilities such as hospitals, clinics, health centers; some can be very dangerous. Three types of waste are included in this category:
- Non-infectious: probes, bandages
- Infectious: needles, items contaminated with blood, urine, sputum
- Chemical and pharmacological. (they receive the same treatments as the RTP)
b. Urban solid waste(RSU). They are those that are generated in homes (household waste), on urban roads, green and recreational areas, sites with construction or demolition works; also discarded furniture and fixtures, abandoned vehicles. As you can see, they are very heterogeneous. Broadly speaking, they involve the following four categories: organic (around 48-50% of the volume), paper (20%), glass (8%), plastic (8%), others (metals, textiles, etc.). Organic (food scraps, fruits, and vegetables, meat) are the most biodegradable. The rest are of slower or practically zero decomposition, which entails various environmental risks. Increasingly, the collaboration of citizens is requested to separate this household waste when it is disposed of, in order to facilitate subsequent recycling or disposal tasks.