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16: Solid Waste Management

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    • 16.1: Waste Generation
      Trash is a unique human construct because in healthy ecosystems, one organisms waste is always used by another organism. Wastes may be biodegradable or nondegradable. Agriculture, industry, and mining are responsible for most waste generation globally. However, the U.S. generates about 4.9 lbs of municipal solid waste per person.
    • 16.2: Waste Reduction
      The waste management hierarchy lists processes for handling waste in order of preference. Unfortunately, the least preferred process (disposal) is currently used for a large volume of waste. Individuals can limit the impacts of waste through the four R's: are refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Additionally, composting at home can reduce food wastes.
    • 16.3: Life Cycle Assessment
    • 16.4: Waste Disposal
      Open dumps, sanitary landfills, and incinerators are three primary methods of waste disposal. Open dumps increase disease transmission and pollution and are banned in the U.S. Sanitary landfills seal trash to prevent pollution. Incineration can reduce waste volume and generate electricity, but it releases some air pollutants.
    • 16.5: Waste Regulations
    • 16.6: Solid Waste and Marine Life
      Ocean dumping or the escape of trash into the ocean can form garbage patches, soups of small plastic pieces trapped in circular ocean currents. Plastic harms marine life by causing choking, poisoning, and damage to internal organs.
    • 16.7: Case Study- Electronic Waste and Extended Producer Responsibility

    This page titled 16: Solid Waste Management is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Melissa Ha and Rachel Schleiger (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .