blog: Solid Waste – a definition |

blog: Solid Waste – a definition

Pallavi Mukerjee
Vail CO, Colorado
Pallavi Mukerjee

What is Solid Waste? ‘Solid Waste’ includes:

– Trash e.g. milk carton, yard waste

– Garbage e.g., food scraps, coffee grounds

– Refuse e.g. metal scrap, wall board, and empty containers

– Sludge from a waste treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or pollution control facility, e.g. scrubber sludge’s

– Other discarded material, including solid, semisolid, liquid, or contained gas materials like fly ash.

Problems with Improper Disposal of Solid Waste: The amount of solid waste generated combined with improper methods of disposal, increases the risk of adverse health effects in people and animals. It also results in damage to the environment. Some of these effects are:

– Pollution of surface and ground water

– Clogging of drains

– Open Decomposition (rotting) that can lead to the development of an unpleasant odor

– Scavenging

– Breeding ground for vectors and rodents

– Increased risk of diseases like malaria, typhoid, yellow fever

– Littering the land and destroying the natural beauty

Solution to the Problem: Solid waste management is a challenge as waste generation increases with the increase in population and economic development. Planning of and implementing a comprehensive program for waste management (collection, transport, and disposal) can reduce/eliminate the above problems.

Here is an interesting link which describes solid waste management in the US from 1950-2000.

Next week we will talk about “Integrated Solid Waste Management System.”

Pallavi Mukerjee can be reached at

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