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Solid Waste Management And Urban Development Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 4284 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Solid waste management is an integral part of the urban environment and planning of infrastructure to ensure a safe and healthy human environment while considering the sustainable economic growth. Waste disposal has posed a problem in most countries and it is affecting the economy and development of the country. How? In an unhealthy environment, the citizen will fall ill, will not attract investors, knowledge and ideas will not be explored and the cost of living will be high but in a healthy environment, investors will always want to be there, healthy manpower to explore, great place to visit (tourism), economy growth and development.

The aspect of recycling as referred means of waste disposal than has not been fully adopted by most countries because they have not recognized the positive impact recycling has on the environment. The focus of this research is to look at recycling municipal solid waste as a means to achieve sustainable development and economic growth.

This study will be based on an investigative method, surveys, questionnaire, secondary data, interviews and observations. This is to bring out the benefits of recycling waste than disposing waste to landfill.



Sustainable development requires an environmental sound, cost effective and socially acceptable management of solid waste product. Waste is the consensus that has to be reduced or avoided and non- avoided waste has to be reuse or recycled as far as possible under well-balanced economic and ecological conditions (NORDTEST 2004). Recycling contributes to a healthy, united community but has not fully been recognized as a way of reducing waste product and creating development.

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Waste is seen by the society as material perceived to have little or no value. The waste generated are in large quantities, facing disposal problem in such that it has become a nuisance problem. The improper solid waste disposal is as a result of dumping waste along the road side, dumps sites and illegal landfill sites, has led to pollution of the environment and prevention of development in a country forgetting that waste can be recycled.

It is seen that a large number of people do not recycle their waste; they pack up all types of waste into one bin. Most of this waste when disposed of separately can be recycled (Bzowy 2007). This in-separation of waste could be as a result of unawareness by the people on the need to recycle, the need to identify the recyclable waste and separate it, and the appropriate bin to dispose it. The amount of waste generated from the different source could be a good source of business after separation and the collection. The possibility of exploring recycling solid waste product has not be taken into full account in the form of sustainable development and revenue generation.

In some countries where solid waste disposal is mainly to dump site and landfill, they constitute environmental impact than recycling. In dump site and landfill, the environmental impact is the emission of methane gas contributing to global warming, reduction of available land for development, contamination of land and ground water, breeding ground for rats, flies and other vermin which can be a potential threat to transfer of disease to human and environment.

To tackle this issue, legislation was introduced in local and national basis of different countries with the aim of increasing recycling and re-use of solid waste and products for sustainable development. In EU, landfill directives aim is to reduce landfill waste disposal by imposing landfill tax to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill to 75% because the decay produce methane, a strong greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and land is becoming limited making landfills difficult to establish (POST 2005). Most European countries are diverting from landfill waste disposal to recycling.

Recycling is seen as an economic development tool as well as environmental tool; it offers direct opportunities for communities. When wastes are recycled, the cost of disposal is reduced because the recycled wastes are sold to manufacturers as raw materials generating revenue.

Recycling creates door that attract investors to the country through the remanufacture of the waste, creating jobs and tax revenue. A community’s duty to a cleaner environment often reflects its commitment to a higher standard of living and attracts companies that reprocess recyclables and suppliers who reuse these materials in their product (US EPA 2009).

Recycling is a good measure in controlling waste generation, although it is third in the hierarchy of waste management but it is well adopting by any country to control waste generation to build up. Recycling is a very profitable business: which is actually declared: ‘one man’s garbage is another man’s gold. Recycling of waste whatever its form is a very sound approach to mounting problem therefore encouraging development. This is what I am researching, on the usefulness of waste in the community (country) especially focusing on recycling as a means of sustainable development and revenue generation.


This study was concern mainly on the development and revenue generation through recycling waste product.

Why should waste be recycled?

How can sustainable development be achieved through recycling solid waste?

Can revenue be generated from recycled waste?

How can encouraging the citizens towards recycling waste be achieved and who is responsible?


The study aims at

The justification that recycling municipal solid waste is a means of development and revenue generation.

Identifying the recyclable materials,

Creating awareness to people on separation of waste and making it know that;

Recycling waste can leads to development and revenue generation (employment).

To ensure that about 80% of waste are recycled.


Recycling solid waste is aimed at discouraging the disposal of waste to landfill, dump site and promote a sustainable environment that will attract investors, create opportunities, create employment, generate income and help in the reduction of greenhouse gas effect to the environment. It is also designed to educate the people on the need for sustainable development. The baseline data collected from the result will serve as a guide of other researches in their quest for additional knowledge. It can also be for those interested in the field of total waste reduction or zero waste emission.


This study is delimited is to recycling of solid waste as a means to sustainable development and revenue generation in different parts of the world but using Coventry as my study area due to availability of quick data.


Economic Advantages-

Reduces cost for waste disposal and raw material purchase.

It saves cost on energy.

It increases revenue through tax from landfill.

It create employment, example collection, sorting

Environmental Advantages-

Reduces the amount of waste produces.

Reduces the amount of waste disposed at landfill

It increases storage of carbon in trees.

It minimises the risk of present and future environmental pollution and harm human health.

It makes good use of waste produced.


Economic Disadvantages-

It cost more when prices are low for a particular material.

Initial capital- Purchasing the equipment.

Environmental Disadvantages-

Transportation of waste example energy use, noise and emission from vehicle.

Disposal of waste, example noise pollution, emissions.



The EC Waste Framework Directive defines waste as ‘any substance or object which the holder discards or intends to discard’ (Williams 2005).


Recycling is the process of collecting used materials which is usually considered as ‘waste’ and reprocessing it. In this process, the waste are sorted and processed to be used as ‘raw materials’ for the production of new product (Ghosh 2008).



Waste is seen as inefficiency and less inefficiency the more waste. Inefficiency combined with the continuous growth of waste means depleting earth’s resources and the resources are limited. In order to preserve it for the next generation, they deserve to be used efficiently.

Production, consumption and waste disposal patterns in the UK are currently not suitable for sustainable living. The wastes are currently disposed to landfill which produce a large proportion of greenhouse gas and rely on the input of non-renewable resource that could be reused, recycled or recovered for energy. The goal is to create a sustainable environment from waste through recycling and live within our environment without compromising our quality of life (DEFRA 2009).




Energy Recovery (Incineration)

LandfillIn the hierarchy of waste, recycling is the third for the control of waste. This recycling process involves the creation of employment that leads to development and sustainable income.

Figure 1 The hierarchy of waste management. Source: Williams, 2005.

The European Waste Framework Directive (1975) has at its centre the hierarchy of waste management and the basis of its strategy, is to encourage movement up the hierarchy and thereby increase the levels of waste reduction, re-use and recycling (Williams 2005). It was clear that there has to be an accurate definition and classification of waste to know the actual type of waste that will be recycled and useful.

Recycling is widely assumed to be environmentally beneficial, although collecting, sorting and processing materials does give rise to environmental impacts and energy use (POST 2005). It can take place within the manufacturing industry or can take place at the post- consumer stage, example paper can be collected separately from the waste and then re-enter the paper processing machine (Williams 2005).

In 1987 the Commission on Environment and Development issued a report that defined sustainable development as those forms of development that allows people “to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability to meet the need of the future generations” (Weinberg, Pellow and Schnaiberg 2000:4).

Recycling waste product brings about sustainable development and revenue by creating route for collected commodities to be sold in the marketplace. A comprehensive and efficient recycling programs offer more opportunities for the community to benefit financially, while improving the aesthetic appeal of their neighbourhoods through boosting tax revenue- that is used for community projects such as public parks, alternative transportation and educational grants (US EPA 2009).

Studies has confirmed that in United State, recycling has emerged as a consensual policy with its promise to reduce landfilled waste, create jobs, produce revenue for cities and profit for business. Example in Florida, the Recycling Economic information Study completed in 2000 shows that about $62 million in state tax revenue was as a result of the direct effect of the recycling and reuse industry (US EPA 2009). It has constituted a model of sustainable community development because it is one of the very few ideas proposed by advocates that embrace all of the three Es- Economy, Equity and Environment (Weinberg, Pellow and Schnaiberg 2000:7).

As EPA’s Recycling Economic Information Study says recycling industries not only offer higher paying jobs, than national average, but they also prevent communities from disposing beneficial materials into landfills (US EPA 2009). In New York, recycling programme was established involving the trade associations from various packaging industries to promote recycling in all communities. This removed more pressure on local landfills; the market for recyclable increased, remanufacturers started using recyclable and found that it was cheaper than virgin materials. The recycling technology company started developing, employing many people and the industry’s revenue increased (Weinberg, Pellow and Schnaiberg 2000:21).

Recycling is the need of the hour as many environmental issues is been reeled out. The destruction of the rain forest for the production of paper, has led to the extinction of many species. The rainforest plays an important role in maintaining the ecosystem. This means that we are all interdependent and this necessitates recycling at every step. The plastic industry and paper industry are striving well through recycling and the end product is used to manufacture new product especially plastic which are not biodegradable can be reprocessed into tables and chairs, tooth brush, carpet (Gaikwad 2009). According to a lecture delivered as part of module M51GED, for every one ton of paper recycled, it saves 17 trees, 3 cubic yard of landfill space, 7,000 gallons of water, 4200kWh (enough to heat a home for half of a year), 390 gallons of oil and prevents 30kg of air pollutants (Bateman 2009).

Studies have shown that recycling has created job in different areas where people were not employed and has increase their income generation. In 2002, Washington County started recycling with one trailer and one employee but today, the recycling company has growth. The Washington County had collaborated with neighbouring counties leading to the involvement of six counties in recycling and providing opportunities to the rural areas that otherwise would not receive services (US EPA 2009). It has also brings community to together. This was done after the Hurricane Katrina devastation; Harrison County in Mississippi started a road to recovery and identified recycling as a means for rebirth. The EPA aided in setting up of a recycling centre for white goods and other materials to could be salvaged from the disaster. Harrison took further step in improving the county by restoring curb-side recycling and implementing household hazardous waste drive each year to which has now improve the county (US EPA 2009).

It is seen that recycling waste is developing some countries, example the solid waste and recycling firm industry in United State is making inroad into Asian nations because these countries are opening their growing consumer market (Weinberg, Pellow and Schnaiberg 2000).

The European Community Environmental Action Programmes also call for significant changes in current patterns of development, production, consumption and behaviour in order to achieve sustainable development (Williams 2005). In 2001, the EU made a sixth action programme on sustainable development which waste prevention and management was the key issue and it emphasized the need to achieve a situation where “the most of the waste generated are either reintroduced into the economic cycle through recycling or are returned to the environment in a useful (composting) or harmless form” (Morrissey and Philips 2007).

Recycling does not only affect our environment positively, it has re-created the lost resources, increase wealth, population and technology of various lifestyles. It has also led to unmanageable amount of waste. Recycling has helped in restoring the habitat and forest (Gaikwad 2009). It embodies an ethic, a way of relating to the world, worthy of support. Yet city after city have embraced it and it can be justified that it is a good investment (Seldman and Lease 2002).

This can be achieve through

The legislation on waste management in which recycling is a major key.

The awareness of people towards recycling municipal solid waste especially the households.

The provision of the different waste bins at the appropriate place.

Organization of seminars, programme, publications, leaflets on waste management and recycling.


The European legislation has a strong influence on the national waste policies. Each policy is in line with each country’s legislation on solid waste.

Waste Framework Directives-

This established the general rule of waste management that was introduced in 1975 (75/442/EEC). This directive was amended in 1991 and 1996 subsequently. The framework directive has central principles:

The waste management hierarchy which involves prevention, re-use, recycling and recuperation of energy and materials get priority.

Using the Best Available Technology (BAT) for waste disposal using technological, environmental and economic selection criteria.

Waste must be treated at the place of production or collection.

Applying the polluter Pays Principle to any polluters through waste disposed (Dubois, Gonzalez and Knadel 2004).

The European Commission Communication of 12 December 2005 setup “Taking sustainable use of resources forward: A Thematic Strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste”.

To reduce the negative impact of waste on the environment through its life-span from production to disposal through recycling.

It made that every item of waste is not only seen as a source of pollution reduction but as a potential resource to be exploited.

To promote recycling sector in order to reintroduce waste into the economic cycle in the form of quality products.

The strategy also provides for other measures, such as exchange of information on national disposal taxes as well as, measures which would supplement the market should there be inadequate increasing recycling levels (Europa 2007).


The UK legislation implemented the European Waste Framework Directive through the national legislation:

Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989

The Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 (as amended)

The Controlled Waste (Registration of Carriers and Seizure of Vehicles) Regulations 1991.

The legislation requires that anyone who treats, keeps, deposits or disposes of waste needs a waste management licence (unless exempt or excluded) which includes conditions relating to operation at the site which is issued by the Environmental Agency and monitors the activities to ensure compliance for the safety of the environment (Net 2004).

The legislation set up national waste strategies with a target aim of raising the national recycling rate up to 25% by 2005/06 using the baseline 1998/99 and diverting waste from landfill as required from Landfill Directives and include recycling, recovery and composting of different types of waste especially biodegradable waste for sustainable waste management (Net 2004).

The Power of Recycling Waste under the Environmental Protection Act 1990:

This deals on the effects for conferring on waste disposal and waste collection authorities power for the purpose of recycling waste.

That the waste disposal and collection authorities are to buy or acquire waste with a view of recycling it.

To make waste disposal contractors recycle waste (EPA 1990).

The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EC obliges UK to meet the target for recovery and recycling for packaging waste. It was introduced by the UK Government in 1997 to meet 2001 in which most targets agreed by the European Union to be met by 31 December 2008 with overall target was 60% for recovery and 55%-80% for recycling. In November 2005, a new target was set for 2010 with minimum amount of recovery to be achieved through recycling of 92% (Net 2004).

The Household Waste Recycling Act was introduced in UK in 2003- that all English authorities to provide kerbside collections for the minimum of two recyclable materials by 2010 (POST 2005).


Waste is produce in the course of acquisition of raw materials, refining and manufacturing and product used by consumers. Wastes are produced in large quantities from the different sources that use this manufactured product. Our everyday activities can produce large variety of waste from different sources; it could be solid or liquid waste and this serve as a useful tool for sustainable development if recycled especially municipal waste.

In 1990s, it was estimated that each person in the world generated 200kg of solid waste per year and this was forecasted to increase with the growth in population (Manyanhaire 2009:2).

From the estimate of Europe waste, 3.5 tonnes is generated per person and this is mainly made up of waste coming from household, commercial activities (Shops, restaurants, hospitals), industry (pharmaceutical companies, clothes manufacturer), agriculture (slurry), construction and demolition projects and mining and quarrying activities and from the generation of energy. With the production of such large quantities of waste produced, it is important to manage it in a way not to cause any harm to either human health or the environment (EIONET 2009).

Wastes are produced from different sources and they are classified according to their sources and production. They are-

Municipal Waste

These wastes are from residential such as household, commercial such as small business, office buildings and institutional such as schools, hospital, government buildings sources that are discarded (Masters 1990). Municipal waste comprises of residue waste, bulky waste, sweeping, litter collections, secondary materials from separate collection and household hazardous waste. The waste is made up of paper, glass, textiles, cardboard, organic waste (food and garden waste) and wood (EIONET 2009). Household waste is about 82% of the total municipal solid waste (Eurostat 2003).

Agricultural Waste

This consists of organic waste such as manure from livestock, slurry, soiled water and silage effluent, crop residue, plastic, scrap machinery, fencing, pesticides, waste oil and veterinary medicines (EIONET 2009). The waste generators are from crops, orchard, farm, feedlot (Daniel and Thomas 1999). Some are use as animal feed or for compositing (Williams 2005).

Industrial Waste

This consists of different manufacturing industries- Light and heavy manufacturing, fabrication, power and chemical plant. This waste is made up of food, cardboard, beverages and tobacco, hazardous waste (chemical), metals, wood and paper. It is similar to that of municipal waste (US EPA 2009).

Construction and Demolition Waste

This involves waste from residue during construction and waste when demolition takes place. The waste generators are construction of new buildings, renovation of site and total or partial demolition. The wastes consist of wood, steel, dirt (Daniel and Thomas 1999).

Mining and Quarry Waste

This waste is produced during extraction and processing materials such as coal, slate and metalliferous materials. Wastes are also found in rocks in-bedded with mineral resources and residue leftovers. (Wasteonline 2002).


The study will make use of an investigative method as its aim to find out the rate of recycling and what material is recycled more.

Data will be collected at some recycling centres.

The research will include surveys from the process of collecting solid waste and recycling waste, the concern, belief and behaviour of people towards recycling waste.

To answer the research questions,

Data will be gathered from areas where waste recycling studied area of this research (which includes areas where waste recycling and non-recycling are been carried out).

Participant observation will be carried out.

Questionnaire will be distributed to the residents to know the rate of waste recycling and how actively involved they are in the exercise.

Interviews will also be conducted (face to face).

Secondary data will be used for this research and it will be on-

Documentary sources such as journals, newspapers, organisation records, books, images.

Survey Sources such as census, government surveys, official statistics and document.

Multiple sources that are combined into one dataset.

Data generated for this study will be compared with data from pervious study.

Appropriate tables, charts and figures will be used in effective representation of analysis of all data along with narrative interviews data obtained.

The data collected will be converted to numerical data for analysis and discussion.









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