Solid Waste
 Elmhurst College
 Chemistry Department
   Virtual ChemBook

Solid Waste

Sources of Solid Waste:
 
For urban and suburban dwellers, the most visible collection of solid municipal waste is actually only a small percentage of all waste as seen in this graphic.
 
Agricultural waste from animals is a very big problem in rural areas and causes significant air and water pollution unless properly controlled.
 
In mining areas, there are mountains of waste generated in digging an open pit mine. Two types of waste are generated.
1) The over burden of rocks need to be relocated into large piles of waste rock.
2) Slag and tailings left over after the extraction of metals from the ore is another source of waste.

Composition of Municipal Solid Waste:
 
As you can see from this graphic the largest category of solid waste is paper. This is largely recycled at this time.
Yard waste at least in Illinois is no longer sent to landfills but is composted.

 
 

 Fate of Solid Waste"

This graphic shows that the vast majority of the waste in the United States is landfilled. Since 1990, the numbers of recycled and composted waste have increased significantly.