Rubbish bins

Waste Disposal

Disposal And Traditional Waste Management

Waste Volumes and ContributionWaste Management as a professional field originally developed with a focus on removing unwanted material from the proximity of people and settlements. With a predominantly public health perspective, waste managers were traditionally interested in the disposal of the waste. Whilst there is now a general move towards the recovery of resources from waste, disposal is still the most common final destination for many types of waste, including municipal waste. The methods of disposing of waste range from the very basic to the elaborate. However, there are still two main categories of disposal, namely burial (landfilling) or burning (incineration). Disposal Or Resource Recovery?The line between disposal and resource recovery is sometimes blurred by the fact that both landfills and incinerators can be established or modified to enable at least the recovery of energy (and potentially the recovery of materials). Methane extraction has become common at large, modern landfill sites. This gas can be burnt for heating or electricity generation and its recovery substantially reduces the greenhouse contribution from decaying putrescible waste. Similarly, incincerators can be used to generate heat and/or electricity. The mining of old landfill sites for metals and minerals was first proposed and put into practice more than 50 years ago (Strange, 2005). There are a number of more recent examples of landfill mining around the world and several proposals currently under consideration to trial this approach here in Australia (Geoscience News, 2003)

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  1. Strange, K., 2005, Landfill Mining, online article
  2. Geoscience News, 2003, Mining Proposed to Extend the Life of an Urban Landfill, The Australian Institute of Geoscientists