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How incinerator can help in waste management?

The present consumer society is plagued with industrial wastes in mass amounts. This is because of increased production and usage of different types of products, thus generating wastes. Initially, very little attention had been paid to environmental burden with regards to mass consumerism leading to wastes disposed of in dumps.

Global concern

From the 1960s, there was noticed increasing societal concern pertaining to ecological and health risks that have invoked the implementation of sophisticated and advanced waste management procedures and systems in both developed and developing countries across the globe.

The public waste management companies and legislation have tried to come up with the objective to reduce the impact of unwanted waste disposal as well as to control pollutant emission in the environment. Waste policy implementation is regarded to be among the key policies in several countries. Waste collection, reduction, separation of compostable or recyclable materials combined with disposal of residue to incineration or sanitary (landfill) facilities are now a common practice with regards to solid waste management in several densely populated and developed as well as developing areas of the globe. Industrial waste Incinerator is being used on a large scale in the developing countries to do away with industry created wastes in a safe manner and this is being followed slowly, but steadily by the developing countries, with an aim to protect the environment and the future of mankind.

Waste management hierarchy in this regard is termed as Lansink’s reduce-reuse-recycle ladder that has been adopted by the EU (European Union) waste hierarchy, followed by others, to ensure better resource utilization and to reduce unwanted industrial wastes. ‘Wastes’ are being used currently for suitable applications. The fact is that there has been a sharp increase in an urban waste generation to about 1.2 kg/cap a day, with total generation stated to be approximately 1.3 billion tonnes annually, out of which, about 15% gets incinerated. Therefore, the incinerated percentage is high about 62%, especially in industrialized countries.

Waste types

The major waste types identified for incinerating in municipal solid waste incinerator include municipal wastes, hazardous wastes, non-hazardous wastes, clinical wastes, and sewage sludge. All types of non-hazardous and non-recyclable wastes are co-incinerated. They do comprise of very high volume.

Heat is generated from this incineration process and it is recovered as well as used or converted into electrical energy. Incineration in some cases is used only for volume reduction and disinfection purposes. Wastes are stated to reduce to about 10% to 15% of its original volume and about 20% to 35% of original weight once incinerated. Residue fates depend upon its environmental quality. Usually, bottom ash gets classified as non-hazardous and thereby can be taken into consideration for different applications like sub-base material for road construction purposes. The finer fractions like fly and boiler ashes may be hazardous because of heavy metals, salts, organics, and biocides. 1% to 3% of the total residue is considered to be fly ash. The major concern until the 1980s was gaseous emissions created by incinerators. But modern, sophisticated incinerators are completely safe to dispose of wastes.