Waste management deals with the process required for disposing waste right from its inception to final ejection. The process of waste management includes collection, transportation, treatment and final disposal of the waste materials along with monitoring the rules and regulations associated with waste management. Whether it is a small scale enterprise, a large industrial conglomerate, or a municipality for an urban or rural township, waste products are an inevitable part of everyday life.
Different types of waste
Generally, based on the form of matter, wastes are broadly categorized into solid wastes, liquid wastes, and gaseous wastes. Each type of waste is different and has different methods for treatment and disposal. According to the type of waste, it can be categorized into industrial wastes, household waste, and biological wastes. At times, certain types of wastes pose a hazardous threat to mankind.
The threats maybe human health hazards or environmental hazards or threat to aesthetics. Just as the type of wastes varies, the types of waste management practices also vary. The biggest difference in waste management practices comes in the form of nation-wise differentiation i.e. differences in technology and overall management processes between developed and developing nations. Also in a particular nation, amongst the urban and rural areas or between the residential and industrial areas, the type of waste management practices differs.
With the surge in population, the global net waste volume has increased significantly which has led to an increase in the global waste management market both in volume and in net worth. The global waste management market is growing at an exponential rate and is expected to reach 484.9 billion USD by 2025 with a CAGR of over 6%.
The main reason behind such an exponential rise in the waste management market is the population boom as well as rapid urbanization. According to reports, the Municipal Solid Waste produced by the urban population was estimated to be quite high in the decade and is expected to reach a landmark by 2025.
With the increasing awareness over environmental issues, the need for solid waste management is increasing. The per capita cost of solid waste management is expected to increase by four times for lower to middle-income countries like India, Brazil etc. While the cost has been forecast to increase even more i.e. around five times for lower-income countries like Kenya, Ghana etc.
Another reason contributing to the proliferation of the waste management industry is the introduction of international treaties for the trans-boundary movement of waste products. One of the most important treaties is the Basel Convention which was later integrated into the EU’s waste shipment regulation act as well.
Types of waste management markets
The working principle for companies in the waste management industry is collecting, treating and disposal of garbage and other related waste material. Recovering the reusable materials through various types of recycling processes becomes crucial. Certain remediation services in case of decontamination in buildings, mine sites, soils or groundwater should also be taken. The type of collection and treatment varies depending on the nature of waste. Based on the nature of waste the major types of management markets include municipal solid waste or MSW management, hazardous waste management, industrial waste management, agricultural waste management, biomedical waste, and waste minimization.
Demographically it has been observed that the residents of higher income countries have a tendency of releasing more waste products in the form of dry or reusable wastes like pens, paper, cardboard, glass, plastics etc. accounting for 51% of global waste. Whereas the residents of middle to lower income nations generally release food and green wastes (grass clippings, dry leaves, commercial as well as residential kitchen wastes) which accounts for 53% and 57% of total global wastes respectively.
Apart from these broad-scale categories, E-wastes or electronic and electrical wastes are the fastest growing waste streams in both developed and developing nations. With the advent of technology, gadget and devices related waste is growing rapidly. In a UN initiative study, it was estimated that global e-waste could reach up to a margin of half a billion with the alarming statistics of per person production of e-waste.
The outlook for the future
As the rise in the amount of global waste production is increasing at an alarming rate separate methodologies for waste products are not enough. Nowadays with the advent of technology comprehensive waste management techniques like smart waste management are being introduced. These types of waste management strategies manage waste from both residential and commercial sectors with the help of modern day devices like Radio Frequency Identification, disposable tags, vacuum cleaners, and real-time waste measurement devices.