Classification of Different Types of Waste

Classification of Different Types of Waste

Every year a considerable volume of waste ends up in landfills. It is true that the situation varies by country, but the general situation causes incalculable effects on the environment.

One of the main objectives of governments and producers is precisely to reduce the generation of waste. In this way, the risks for vulnerable places receiving contamination are minimized.

The reality is that many of the activities carried out in productive sectors generate waste. The industrial sector, for example, generates waste such as metals, fertilizers, pesticides, solvents, resins, various chemical products, treated water, and sludge.

Waste is also generated daily in businesses and in the home.

Achieving the objective of reducing the pollution caused by waste in the environment depends on correct management. In this process, the classification of the waste and the final destination given to it due to its characteristics is key.

One of the best-known classifications of waste is made according to its dangerousness. In this classification, a difference is made between hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

Types of hazardous waste

Due to its composition, hazardous waste requires proper management to avoid high risks of contamination. This type of waste usually releases toxic substances into the environment.

The most common hazardous waste are:

Corrosive Waste

They are residues that wear and erode the surfaces with which they come into contact under certain unfavorable conditions. They tend to be highly dangerous if released into any space. They react by contact with other residues or toxic pollutants. Examples of corrosive waste are acidic (hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid) or highly alkaline substances.

Reactive Waste

Due to their instability, they can become explosive in different situations. This happens due to the action of varying temperatures and forces. If they meet water, they can release toxic gases, vapors, and fumes into the environment. Waste containing ammonium, magnesium, or acetylene chloride is among the main examples of reactive waste.

Explosive Waste

They are very volatile if professionals who follow the security measures indicated for these cases do not manage them. Generally, excessive or careless storage is highly dangerous. The explosive action they generate is caused by coming into contact with a heat source or by chemical reactions caused by shocks, friction, or high temperatures. Examples of this type of waste are gunpowder, peroxides, and chlorates.

Flammable Waste

In conditions of adverse temperatures and exposure to heat sources, they quickly cause a fire. Chemical changes, friction, or humidity are very common causes that cause them to burn easily. Failure to control the management of this high-temperature-sensitive waste represents a risk for vulnerable environments. Examples of flammable waste: are phosphorus, aldehydes, and hydrocarbons.

Toxic waste

They can be organic and inorganic. Due to the high content of toxic substances they have, they cause harmful effects on human health and the environment. The high destructive capacity that they possess makes them a threat, even to distant spaces to the origin of the emission. They are often added as ingredients to various popular products such as fuels, paints, batteries, and electronic equipment.

Many companies generate hazardous waste. It is important that professionals manage this waste as it could affect the health of the people who handle it.

Non-hazardous waste

Non-hazardous waste does not directly represent a danger to human health and the environment.

When in contact with other waste, this type of waste does not generate adverse chemical reactions. Therefore, no polluting agents are released into the environment.

Non-hazardous waste is frequently generated in industrial activity. Proper management of this waste is as important as managing hazardous waste.

Many companies are unaware of the amount of non-hazardous waste generated through their activities. This lack of knowledge negatively influences the organization of space and job security.

Some non-hazardous waste is easy to identify. Among them, are machinery and equipment in disuse, metal containers, mixtures of plastics, wood, paper, and cardboard waste.

Following a broader classification, we can mention:

Urban waste

We generate them daily in our homes, offices, and shops. There are variations between the different materials that make up this waste. The wide range they cover ranges from the well-known glass and plastic containers to clothing and other textiles (including paper, cardboard, organic waste, etc.).

Inert industrial waste

They do not undergo significant transformations from a physical, chemical, or biological point of view when they meet other waste. They can be materials derived from manufacturing processes, such as rubble and sand, parts or equipment, and machinery in disuse.

Reusable non-hazardous waste

They can be used in the different recycling processes that we know. The ultimate goal of treating this waste is reuse that is, giving it a new use. Examples: paper, cardboard, scrap, pieces of cable, glass, etc. Non-recoverable non-hazardous waste is not included in the recycling processes and generally ends up in landfills.

Construction and demolition waste

They are generated in excavation, construction, remodeling, or rehabilitation activities.

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