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Name: YingXuan Ma
Professor: Al-Amin
Course: English 102
Date: 4/24
Municipal Waste Management
Waste management has become the center of many governments whether at the local or
national and state level. Despite the dedicated efforts towards waste management, there still is no
consensus on the effective means to manage waste for municipal governments. While most
governments implement landfills as the basic approaches to effectively dumping waste outside
the city, many governments are keen on implementing new ways of waste management. These
new approaches are mainly aimed at reducing the adverse effects of landfills in polluting the
environment and also increasing the sustainability of waste management in urban areas. The
dedicated efforts by different governments have shown different levels of success and have not
yet shown consensus on the most effective way of managing municipal waste. This paper looks
into the various approaches and how they relate to sustainability while also availing a
cost/benefit analysis of the same. Owing to the poor municipal waste management, composting
can be used as an effective solution to degradable solid waste management in cities.
The ultimate goal of waste management is to ensure that waste that is produced is
effectively managed to avoid the adverse effects of the same on the environment and the globe in
general. The waste management hierarchy, therefore, is a pyramid that looks into the way waste
is commonly managed and ranks the approaches from the most recommendable to the least
recommended. The hierarchy, therefore, is an analysis of the waste management approaches and
how they cause advantages as well as adverse effects on the various stakeholders. The hierarchy,
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as displayed by UNEP, is a crucial tool in choosing the best management approach and
comparing it with other approaches and their effects on various stakeholders.
At the top of this pyramid is the most preferred management solution and this is
preventing the creation of waste in the first place. Prevention also refers to the general reduction
of waste that is produced. Many municipal governments have done that by passing strict
requirements on the means of production and consumption. This has been so through
“introducing modern ways of waste collection and storage, methods of incineration,
pyrolysis, plasma gasification, aerobic and anaerobic digestion, vertification, and deep slurry
injections” (Saleem 22). The preventive approach is then followed by reusing. If people have to
produce waste, they have to effectively reuse the reusable solid waste to reduce the amount of
waste that they produce.
If prevention and reusing are not possible, recycling comes across as the next preferred
step in waste management. Materials such as paper, glass, plastics, and metals can easily be
recycled. Furthermore, Elagroudy et al. claim that they not only reduce the amount of waste but
also create a salvage and resale income which is helpful for the involved stakeholders (p. 556).
Therefore, as the third choice for waste management, it shows effective policy considerations for
municipal governments to consider. If the waste cannot be prevented, reused, or recycled, the
next step in the hierarchy is recovery and finally disposal. Resource recovery is the use of waste
as the input to create valuable output and this may include methods such as composting. Disposal
is simply getting rid of the waste and this is mainly seen in landfills.
While the hierarchy presents a clear analysis of the approaches to follow, it is not always
possible for municipalities to effectively reuse or recycle waste especially due to the fact that
most of the waste may not be recyclable or reusable. Composting as part of the resource recovery
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level comes in as another option which should be considered by municipal governments. While a
combination of approaches is required, composting has shown the potential for reducing the
overall rates of dumping in landfills. An analysis of the cost and benefits while comparing the
approach to other approaches is necessary for recommendation of the process of waste
management.
At the core of waste management are environmental conservation and the reduction of
pollution. As such, most of the methods used by municipal governments to manage waste look
into protecting the environment from the destructive effects of waste. To effectively qualify a
single approach as the most effective in waste management, it is, therefore, necessary to look
into the different methods and their environmental impact. These approaches should be
compared to each other for a close analysis of the ones that present the least impact on the
environment to be used in managing municipal waste. By virtue of reducing the negative effects
of development and waste production on the environment, the methods with least impact are
preferred to those with a higher impact.
One of the most commonly-used methods is the disposal of waste in landfills. Basically,
this approach involves the dumping of waste in some location outside the main town
establishments as the main approach. Open dumping and sanitary landfills are the most widelyused waste management approaches around the world (Elagroudy et al. 556). The disposal of
waste in landfills, therefore, is attributed to most of the adverse effects of waste management on
the environment due to its widespread utilization in the country and the rest of the world. The
effects of landfills have been portrayed as the worst to surrounding communities and hence the
approach needs to be avoided by all costs.
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Landfills adversely affect the health of the surrounding communities as well as polluting
the environment and affecting the biodiversity. According to Saleem, the biggest environmental
effect of landfills is that they are a source of contamination to the surrounding air, water, and
even soil hence they are the poorest approach to waste management (p. 24). The environmental
effect of landfills, therefore, is seen as causing the contamination of surrounding water, soil, and
water. The result is that organisms are reached by the contaminated material and human beings,
especially, may contact diseases from the same. Generally, therefore, landfills are to be avoided.
If they are chosen, sanitary landfills as opposed to open dumping should be used so that hygiene
is maintained at its best and the least impact on the environment is established through the
disposal approach.
Secondly, a growing approach to waste management is recycling. Many cities including
San Francisco in the forefront have adopted recycling and other means to reduce the impact their
waste has on the environment. Primarily, optimality in recycling is reached if the waste can be
used to manufacture new products at a more economic approach than the manufacturing from its
raw materials (Ezugwu 10). This observation shows that recycling is only preferable after a cost
benefit analysis which will be reviewed later. However, recycling is generally used to change the
waste into useful forms and it reduces the impact on the environment. It does so by effectively
diverting waste that would require disposal to more useful applications. Recycling is an approach
that many entities are applying and in the city of San Francisco, the city has a joint recycling
facility where all recyclables are brought for recycling (Brigham, par. 12). Recycling is seen as
reducing the impact of waste management on the environment primarily because it reduces the
amount of waste that ends up in the landfills. The main weakness is that the cost and benefit
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analysis may not always make economic sense and also it is limited to the recyclable materials
only.
Elsewhere, one of the approaches with the least impact on the environment is composting
of organic waste. This approach usually involves the use of yards where waste is buried and
undergoes special treatment to turn the waste into useful compost. Primarily, in San Francisco,
organic waste such as food scraps is sent to the city’s yard where compositing is performed to
produce manure which is then sold to farmers (Brigham, par. 16). This approach has little impact
on the environment because it reduces pollution and enriches the biosystem. It also adds
nutrients to the soil hence enriching it. The only downside is that leaching of excess nutrients
may adversely affect organisms living in the soil and surrounding streams. However, this impact
is minimal.
Composting has been portrayed as a low environmental-impact method of waste
management that can be adopted by municipal governments. However, the main limitation of
this approach is it limitation to organic waste only while nonorganic waste is not catered to.
Primarily, this method is environmentally-conscious when operating with waste such as food
scraps from hotels. Generally, therefore, if the method is to be recommended, it has to be limited
to organic waste which was the main prompt for this essay. However, a thorough comparison of
the cost and benefits of this method with others proposed and used in the industry is necessary
for the adoption of composting as the main proposal for sustainable municipal waste
management.
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Works Cited
Brigham., Katie. “How San Francisco sends less trash to the landfill than any other major U.S.
city.” CNBC, 14 Jul. 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/13/how-san-franciscobecame-a-global-leader-in-waste-management.html. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
Elagroudy, Sherien, Tamer Elkady, and Fikry Ghobrial. “Comparative cost benefit analysis of
different solid waste management scenarios in Basrah, Iraq.” Journal of Environmental
Protection 2.05 (2011): 555. doi:10.4236/jep.2011.25064. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
Ezugwu, C. N. “New Approaches to Solid Waste Management.” The World Congress on
Engineering and Computer Science. Vol. 2. 2015. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
Saleem, Wajeeha, et al. “Latest technologies of municipal solid waste management in developed
and developing countries: A review.” International Journal of Advanced Science and
Research 1.10 (2016): 22-29. ISSN: 2455-4227. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
Surname 1
Name: YingXuan Ma
Professor: Al-Amin
Course: English 102
Date: 4/21
Municipal Waste: Annotated Bibliography
Primary sources
Elagroudy, Sherien, Tamer Elkady, and Fikry Ghobrial. “Comparative cost benefit analysis of
different solid waste management scenarios in Basrah, Iraq.” Journal of Environmental
Protection 2.05 (2011): 555. doi:10.4236/jep.2011.25064. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
The authors of this research considered the deteriorated system of solid waste
management in Basrah, Iraq. They further identified the current state of solid waste
management as limited to limited collection and dumping in uncontrolled landfills. In the
research, they present a comparison of three case scenarios; scenario 1 involves waste
disposal to a sanitary landfill, scenario two includes transportation and then disposal, and
scenario three includes recycling. Although the third was the most expensive, it was
proposed due to the environmental conservation connected to it. This is a primary
research article articulating a cost-benefit analysis of the considered situations. I will use
the source as a guide to understand the cost implications of conservation efforts and the
opportunity cost of the same in developing countries.
Phillips, J. A. Managing America’s solid waste. No. NREL/SR-570-25035; ON: DE99001692.
National Renewable Energy Lab., Golden, CO (US), 1998. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
Philips presents an extended report on his findings after interviewing various officials in
government who had experience in municipal solid waste management. He details his
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findings in chapters that tackle issues such as the roles of the various levels of
government, minimization of waste, and energy recovery. Generally, the report is
presented as an overview of the state of affairs in America’s solid waste management.
This is a primary source due to its presentation of primary reports from the researcher on
their findings in the field and what they mean to the future of municipal waste
management. This resource will be used as a tool for looking into the history of the U.S
and municipal waste management and pointing out the gaps in practice.
Shin, Dolly. “Generation and disposition of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the United States–A
National Survey.” Master of Science thesis submitted to the Department of Earth and
Environmental Engineering Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science,
Columbia University (2014). Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
In this graduate school thesis, Shin reviews the current state of municipal solid waste
management in the country. Using a survey as the basis of this article, the author reviews
the method sed such as landfills, recycling, source reduction, and composting. She
identified a prevalence of landfills as problematic and identified data sources on the
same. Generally, this primary source highlights the role of the government in current
waste management approaches. It further highlights the discrepancy of data regarding
landfills and explains the controversy that comes with the landfills as means of managing
waste. I will use this article to review the problem of landfills as seen from the
government’s perspective. The survey produces quantitative data which I will use as
evidence of the current problem.
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). “Waste management hierarchy.” UNEP,
2011.
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https://na.unep.net/geas/getUNEPPageWithArticleIDScript.php?article_id=105.
Accessed 9 Apr. 2019.
This image developed by UNEP shows the hierarchy of waste management from the
most preferred at the top (prevention) to the least preferred at the bottom
(disposal). This image speaks into the choices made in municipal solid waste
management and suggests that the most preferred approaches should be used. The
image is a proposal and a recommendation for policy makers and individuals as well
to be cautious and choose the safest management approach available to them. This
primary source will be useful in my research in showing how policies have adhered
or failed to adhere to this hierarchy.
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Figure 1: Waste management hierarchy (UNEP).
Secondary sources
Brigham., Katie. “How San Francisco sends less trash to the landfill than any other major U.S. city.” CNBC, 14
Jul. 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/13/how-san-francisco-became-a-global-leader-in-wastemanagement.html. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
This article is from CBNBC News and it explains how solid waste management policies have been
effectively used in San Francisco to the benefit of the city. It explains that laws mandating decomposition
and reduction of waste production were implemented hence diverting most of the waste taken to landfills.
This is a secondary resource since it reviews existing practices and news on waste management. It will be
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useful in highlighting some of the cities in the country that have implemented effective solid waste
management and the benefits it has gained from it. The article will be an example for implementations
that can be made in other cities whether in the U.S or elsewhere and thus a pacesetter in the proposed
actions and policies to be taken.
Ezugwu, C. N. “New Approaches to Solid Waste Management.” The World Congress on
Engineering and Computer Science. Vol. 2. 2015. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
This article emphasizes the lack of proper waste management approaches especially in
developing countries and reviews the sustainable means of adopting effective
management. It highlights reusing, recycling, and reducing as well as using sanitary
landfills as an option. The author particularly emphasizes wealth creation from the
alternative approaches including the saving that accompanies the waste management
approaches. The article shows that effective management can effectively create wealth
for the involved countries while saving them the cost of environmental degradation. This
article is a secondary review article because it does not provide original research but
rather backs on existing research on the topic. I will use this article to help me in cost/
benefit analysis and hence ensure that I compare the different approaches to waste
management.
Ludwig, Christian, Stefanie Hellweg, and Samuel Stucki, eds. Municipal Solid Waste
Management: Strategies and Technologies for Sustainable Solutions. Springer Science &
Business Media, 2012. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
This book is a diverse resource combining the expert opinions and diverse findings of
various people regarding municipal waste management and the effective strategies to
achieve the same. This book contains edited chapters on the different technologies
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including case studies from around the world and especially China. It thus presents a
backdrop for comparing most of the solid waste management approaches and how they
fit in different environments. It also looks at the rapid development of Chinese cities and
offers solutions fitting that tremendous growth. The book will be used as a reference
resource for identifying and analyzing existing and proposed solid waste management
approaches in the country.
Saleem, Wajeeha, et al. “Latest technologies of municipal solid waste management in developed
and developing countries: A review.” International Journal of Advanced Science and
Research 1.10 (2016): 22-29. ISSN: 2455-4227. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
Saleem and colleagues present a critical review of waste management processes from the
collection stage to the disposal stage. They have provided a review of the contemporary
efforts aimed at getting to zero waste on each level including collection and
transportation, sorting, recycling, processing, energy recovery, and disposal. This review
allows an overview of most of the processes involved in each step towards ensuring zero
waste and how the processes are implemented. As such, this is a secondary source
because it gains information from other sources and synthesizes it to come up with
conclusions. The importance of this resource to my research is that it will be useful in
highlighting the waste management process and the mix of processes that could be the
most effective.
Spiegelman, Helen, and Bill Sheehan. “Unintended Consequences: Municipal Solid Waste
Management and the Throwaway Society.” Issue Brief of the Product Policy Institute.
July 1 (2005). DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.18205.15842. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
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This issue brief reflects on the advancement of municipal solid waste management
systems in the latter half of the 20th century. It explains that drastic changes have been
made over time, but the biggest challenge has been to reduce manufactured product
waste. The issue brief recommends that the government should facilitate separate
treatment of organic materials to reduce waste disposed with industrial waste. The
proposal is based on the historical review of how solid municipal waste has been
managed in the past. This is a secondary source which utilizes previous research and
reports to provide commentary on current implementation proposals. This issue brief will
be effective in checking current policies and how they affect municipal waste
management.
The ten sources highlighted in this annotated bibliography will be used in the research
paper. If content for the paper does not require 10 sources, some may be dropped hence
allowing the most valuable to be used in the paper.
Surname 1
Name: YingXuan Ma
Professor: Al-Amin
Course: English 102
Date: 3/14
Project Proposal
Waste management has become the center of many governments whether at the local or
national and state level. My work with this topic mainly focuses on the municipal level of
managing waste. A cost/benefit analysis of methods which are being applied will be especially
effective in highlighting the most efficient approaches.
Most o …
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