Methods of Solid Waste Disposal
The following SWM disposal practices have been established and are required to be observed in the following order of hierarchy:
(1) Source Reduction
(2) Recycling and Composting
(1) Source Reduction Techniques
Refuse - Environmentalists suggest that another R should be added to the governing principles of waste management, which stands for Refuse. Consumers, as major contributors to solid waste increments, should refuse to use products that make use of packaging or implements made from nonbiodegradable or non-compostable biodegradable materials.
Bans and Restrictions - Some local government units have implemented local laws that exclude nonbiodegradable materials as part of household wastes. Community members who insist on using these materials shall be responsible for their proper disposal. The cost of solid waste management facilities and equipment are taking their toll on community coffers; hence, the matter of source reduction should begin at the consumer level as they become the end-generators of such wastes.
- The State of Massachusetts, for example, has specifically banned televisions and computer monitors from inclusion in landfills.
- The State of Minnesota has banned the sale of mercury-filled thermometers, while any other devices, appliances, gadgets, or implements containing mercury are being banned from landfills. The state is also considering the banning of unprocessed MSW such as yard wastes.
- The State of Illinois has completely banned appliances, implements, and gadgets that contain toxic wastes, which include Freon and chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, from inclusion in landfills.
- Accordingly, there are now twenty-two states that ban the inclusion of yard wastes such as leaves, grass clipping, computer paper, newsprint, paper board, plastic, glass, aluminum and steel containers, tires and lead-acid batteries just to name some of the banned solid wastes that used to form part of MSWs.
- The main considerations for this banning, aside from pollution, are the costs entailed in providing and maintaining solid waste management solutions and facilities for the proper waste disposal of MSW.
Deposit and Refund Systems - Commercial methods of MSW source reduction include the deposit and refund system, which enables the manufacturer to recycle and reuse the containers and packages. To ensure their return, consumers pay fees to be refunded upon the return of the nonbiodegradable material, thereby facilitating the collection and authorized return of packaging materials to its manufacturer.
Donation, Sale and Disposal – Materials that are otherwise discarded and included in landfills are donated to materials exchange centers where they can be properly distributed for recycling, repurposing, and reclaiming methods as ways to reduce solid wastes. Solid wastes included under this program are building materials, furniture, computers, clothing, and appliances.
Laws and Mandates - This refers to state enacted laws imposed against products and their packaging coming from outside sources and the prevention of their entry, as well as the prohibition of their manufacture within the state's jurisdiction. If allowed, this includes the requirement of submitting a manufacturer’s source reduction plan. Examples of these mandates are:
- The State of Oregon requires all plastic containers meet source reduction measures, such as reusability, for at least five times in five years.
- The States of Wisconsin and Iowa require that products meet a required 25 percent recycling goal.
- Impositions of Higher Taxes - Excessive packaging or single-use products containing hazardous compounds are imposed with higher taxes to discourage solid waste generation and encourage source reduction.