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Managing the Garbage We Produce in an Efficient Way

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What is Garbage?

MVSAT 2024

Garbage is defined as items or materials that should be discarded because they serve no purpose for us or are no longer useful to us. We consistently produce enormous amounts of garbage. Garbage often has a strong odour, and a large amount of garbage can emit harmful fumes. As a result, such items are placed in dustbins and transported to distant locations to ensure that our environmental factors are perfect and sound. Garbage waste includes vegetable and fruit strips, leftover food, waste paper and plastic materials, and a variety of other waste items.

Management of Garbage

Waste management practices differ across countries (developed and developing countries), regions (urban and rural areas), and residential and industrial sectors. Waste management is critical for the development of sustainable and livable cities, but it remains a challenge for many developing countries and cities. According to one study, effective waste management is relatively expensive, accounting for 20%-50% of municipal budgets. 

Operating this critical municipal service necessitates the implementation of integrated systems that are efficient, sustainable, and socially supported. A significant portion of waste management practises deal with municipal solid waste (MSW), which accounts for the majority of waste generated by household, industrial, and commercial activity.

Municipal solid waste is expected to reach approximately 3.4 Gt by 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); however, policies and lawmaking can reduce the amount of waste produced in various areas and cities around the world. Waste management measures include integrated techno-economic mechanisms[9] of a circular economy, effective disposal facilities, export and import control, and optimal sustainable product design.

Methods of Waste Disposal

Below are some ways for managing the garbage we produce: 

Waste should, in general, be recycled or thermally treated. If this is not possible due to technical constraints or is not economically feasible, the waste is disposed of in a landfill after appropriate treatment. The following are the standard waste disposal methods used in Switzerland:


Recycling encompasses both the direct reuse of used products (for example, used clothing and working parts removed from used vehicles) and material recycling, which is the recovery of raw materials from waste (e.g. production of new glass from fragments, the melting of scrap iron and the production of recycled building materials from construction waste). Downcycling is the process of converting waste into materials of lower quality than the original material.

Chemical-Physical and Biological Treatment

The goal of both chemical-physical and biological treatment is to allow for the removal of pollutants from waste or its safe disposal. Wastewater and polluted excavated material are common types of waste managed in this manner. Following chemical-physical treatment, pollutants in concentrated form can be disposed of in facilities designed for this purpose.


Residues from waste incineration or waste that is not suitable for material recycling or thermal treatment are deposited in legally required landfills. If the waste cannot be disposed of in a landfill, it must be pre-treated.

Collection and Logistics

Many different specialised actors are involved in the waste management sector. Their responsibilities include waste collection at the source (industry, commerce, and households), intermediate storage, and handover to waste disposal operations. Waste treatment is frequently based on a chain reaction of specialised plants. In all cases, smooth logistics are required for effective waste management. In the case of hazardous waste, the handover must be documented in accordance with the Ordinance on Waste Movements.

Interesting Facts

  • On average, each person produces approximately 4.5 pounds of waste per day.

  • As of 2021, the world generated over 2.01 billion tons of municipal solid waste annually. At least 33% of that waste was not managed in an environmentally safe manner.

  • 80 billion pounds of food is thrown away each year in the US. This is equivalent to 1000 Empire State Buildings.

  • The food waste generated from our houses can be composted and used as fertilisers.

Important Questions

  1. Why should we not throw garbage in plastic bags?

Ans: We should not put garbage in plastic bags because stray animals looking for food in these knotted bags are unable to reach the food and end up eating the entire plastic bag. They sometimes die as a result of this. Plastic bags that are carelessly thrown on roads and other public places end up in drains and the sewer system. As a result, drains become clogged and water spills onto the roads, potentially creating a flood-like situation during heavy rain.

  1. What can we do to minimise garbage generation? 

Ans: We can take following steps to reduce garbage generation:

  • We can practise vermicomposting at home and be mindful of our kitchen waste.

  • We should recycle paper, old books, metal cans, glass bottles, and other materials by selling them to kabadiwalas.

  • We should write on both sides of the paper. For rough work, we should use a slate.

  • As much as possible, we should make our family, friends, and others aware of the hazards of garbage and follow proper waste disposal practises.

  • In a nutshell, we must keep in mind and consider that the more garbage we produce, the more difficult it will be to overcome this threat.



  • Waste management is a critical issue that requires immediate government action.

  • Currently, there is very little awareness of this issue in our society.

  • The practices of generating waste are too dangerous not only for today, but also for future generations.

  • It is critical to educate people and encourage them to recycle, reuse, and reduce rather than generate waste.


Multiple Choice Questions

1. The most serious Environmental effect posed by hazardous wastes is

  1. Air Pollution

  2. Contamination of Groundwater

  3. Increased use of land for landfills

  4. None of these

Answer: (b)

Step by step solution:

  • The most serious environmental effect posed by hazardous wastes is contamination of groundwater. 

  • When groundwater is contaminated by hazardous waste, it becomes unfit for drinking and other purposes. 

  • And it cannot be treated easily as it is expensive and difficult to remove hazardous wastes from water.


2. Which was the first city to establish a system of waste removal?

  1. Lahore

  2. Athens

  3. Paris

  4. London

Answer: (b)

Step by step solution

  • The first occurrence of an organised solid waste management system appeared in London in the late 18th century. 

  • A waste collection and resource recovery system was established around the 'dust-yards'.

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FAQs on Managing the Garbage We Produce in an Efficient Way

1. What leads to poor waste management?

Financial constraints, a lack of public awareness and attitudes, and a lack of information are all potential causes of poor waste management. The first cause of poor waste management is a lack of funds. When it comes to waste management, cash is undeniably important because it is required to purchase technology to clean up massive amounts of waste. Financial constraints prevent proper hygienic facilities from being provided, increase maintenance costs, and have an impact on the quality and quantity of hygienic services.

2. How can the waste management system in India be developed properly?

Waste management is a major issue in India, particularly given the country's unending growth in consumerism. Almost 70% of plastic waste generated in India is recycled, with the remainder entering the environment. However, the majority of this plastic is recycled. At this point, India should implement strong and stringent waste management tools in order to significantly improve the situation. Waste management rules in India are based on "sustainable development" principles, which require municipalities and commercial establishments to act in an environmentally accountable and responsible manner, restoring balance. If we look around, we can see how reliant we are on plastics.

3. How to manage garbage at home?

There are several ways to reduce waste at our home:

  • Limit the use of plastic

The news frequently reports on animals choking on plastic waste or marine life becoming entangled in plastic under water.

  • Segregate the waste

Many countries do this and have significantly reduced waste. We must model best practices and develop healthy habits, as waste management at home is critical. Sort garbage into biodegradable and nonbiodegradable waste.

  • Say yes to composting

Composting can help to reduce waste by converting wet waste into plant fertiliser. Furthermore, if you have or plan to have your own garden, you will have homemade, chemical-free, eco-friendly fertilisers to feed your green babies.

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