Within the global management of generated waste, it is important to classify them. There are different classifications, depending on their origin, composition, dangerousness, etc. Classification on waste and contaminated soils is the most interesting for the purpose of better subsequent management of the same:
- “Domestic waste”: waste generated in homes as a result of domestic activities. Similar waste generated in services and industries is also considered domestic.
- “Commercial waste”: waste generated by the activity of trade, wholesale and retail, from restaurant services and bars, from offices and markets, as well as from the rest of the services sector.
- “Industrial waste”: waste resulting from manufacturing, transformation, use, consumption, cleaning or maintenance processes generated by industrial activity, excluding emissions into the atmosphere.
- “Hazardous waste”: waste that presents one or several of the dangerous characteristics.
Domestic waste is any waste that is produced in the home environment. Local authorities’ waste teams regularly collect the bulk of this, and additional household waste can be collected via one-off waste collections or skip hire. Larger or extra domestic waste can also be taken to a local recycling centre for disposal.
Household waste, otherwise known as domestic waste can be divided into many waste categories.These categories include all of the below.
- Food waste (fruit and vegetable scraps)
- Recyclable waste (includes plastics, paper, cardboard, aluminium, and glass bottles)
- General waste (Renovation work)
- Garden waste
- Domestic Hazardous waste (including medical waste, batteries, chemicals, pesticides, and refrigerators)
Commercial waste can be defined as any waste other than domestic waste. It may be generated as a result of the operation of a not-for-profit organisation or carrying out a business, including associated lawn and garden clippings from normal maintenance of the business premises. Commercial waste also includes rubbish produced by a business’s customers (e.g. food wrappers and containers). Some waste facilities do not accept commercial waste.
Commercial waste is generated as a result of carrying out any of the following activities:
- manufacturing and industrial processes
- wholesale or retail trading
- sorting, resource recovery, reprocessing and recycling operations
- activities carried out at a domestic premises under a commercial arrangement
- accommodation services
- hospitality services, including catering
- primary industries, including agricultural, forestry and fishing
- veterinary services
- health services, including operating a nursing home
- educational services
- activities carried out by charities
- activities carried out by churches
- organising concerts and other entertainment events
- other business activities, including administrative services
Industrial waste is the waste produced by industrial activity which includes any material that is rendered useless during a manufacturing process such as that of factories, mills, and mining operations. Types of industrial waste include dirt and gravel, masonry and concrete, scrap metal, oil, solvents, chemicals, scrap lumber, even vegetable matter from restaurants. Industrial waste may be solid, semi-solid or liquid in form. It may be hazardous waste (some types of which are toxic) or non-hazardous waste. Industrial waste may pollute the nearby soil or adjacent water bodies, and can contaminate groundwater, lakes, streams, rivers or coastal waters. Industrial waste is often mixed into municipal waste, making accurate assessments difficult. An estimate for the US goes as high as 7.6 billion tons of industrial waste produced annually. Most countries have enacted legislation to deal with the problem of industrial waste, but strictness and compliance regimes vary. Enforcement is always an issue.
There are several ways of classifying waste: by its nature (dry and wet), by its chemical composition (organic matter and inorganic matter), etc.
Hazardous wastes are part of class 1 and are those types of material that pose risks to public health and the environment, requiring special treatment and disposal based on their characteristics of flammability, corrosivity, reactivity, among others.
Hazardous waste is accumulated daily in homes and businesses and, unfortunately, its disposal is still carried out irregularly. Improper disposal of hazardous waste can lead to contamination of soil and groundwater. This ends up putting the health of people and the environment at risk, taking into account that a large part of this type of waste contains very dangerous chemical substances in its composition, such as heavy metals.
To reverse the problems caused by incorrect disposal, it is necessary to begin to encourage the education of the population, as well as the adequate punishment of those who break the law and put the health of the population and the environment at risk.