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What is MSW?. (Municipal Solid Waste!). MSW. Solid waste is any unwanted or discarded material that is not liquid or a gas Municipal Solid Waste: The total of all the materials thrown away from homes and commercial establishments Common terms: Trash, Refuse, Garbage

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What is msw

What is MSW?

(Municipal Solid Waste!)


  • Solid waste is any unwanted or discarded material that is not liquid or a gas

    • Municipal Solid Waste: The total of all the materials thrown away from homes and commercial establishments

  • Common terms: Trash, Refuse, Garbage

  • Goal of Solid Waste Management: reduce the amount of waste produced

    • Ideal = do not produce

    • Realistic?

We have a garbage problem
We have a garbage problem?

  • North America produces about 1/3 of the WORLD’s solid waste with less than 5% of the worlds population!

  • 98.5% = mining, oil and natural gas production, agriculture, sewage sludge and industrial activities

    • This solid waste is produced indirectly for your goods and services

    • What does this mean?

Mine Waste Piles

Product garbage
Product Garbage

  • Lets look at your computer:

    • Made of 700 or more materials from mines, oil wells and chemical factories

    • Every 0.5 kg (1 lb) of electronics = ~ 3600 kg (8000lbs) of solid and liquid waste

    • Large amounts of energy are also required = burning of fossil fuels

Remaining 1 5
Remaining 1.5%??

  • This is our MSW

    • Between 1960 and 2005, the total amount of MSW in North America each year increased 3-fold and is still rising

  • FACT: Each year North America generates enough MSW to fill a bumper-to-bumper convoy of garbage trucks encircling the globe almost 8 times?

  • Japan and most developed European countries produce about ½ as much MSW per person as NA, and most developing countries develop about ¼ to 1/10th

Msw in canada and the us
MSW in Canada and the US

  • Paper products and organic matter make up the largest percentage of MSW in Canada and the US

    • Organics = 40%

    • Miscellaneous = 18%

    • Plastic = 9%

    • Metal = 4%

    • Glass = 3%

Key canadian points
Key Canadian Points

  • MSW produced annually per Canadian = 383 kg or 30 green garbage bags

  • MSW diverted (recycled and other programs) = 21%

  • Percentage of paper recycled = 40%

  • Amount of e-wastes (computers, TV’s, cell phones) discarded each year = 140 000 tonnes

    • In NA, only about 2% of e-waste is recycled

Our high waste economy
Our High-Waste Economy!

  • Want the stats? What do we throw away??

    • Enough aluminum to rebuild the entire commercial airline fleets of both CAN and US every 3 months

    • Enough tires each year to encircle the planet almost 3 times

    • Enough disposable diapers each year that if they were linked end to end they would reach to the moon and back 7 times

    • About 2 billion disposable razors, 130 million cell phones, 50 million computers, and 8 million television sets each year

    • Discarded carpet each year that could cover PEI

    • About 2.5 million nonreturnable plastic bottles every HOUR

    • About 670 000 metric tons (1.5 billion lbs) of edible food/year

    • Enough office paper each year to build a wall 3.5 m (11 feet) high across the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific

    • Some 186 billion pieces of junk mail (an average 660 per person) each year, about half of which is unopen

Waste in nature
Waste in Nature?

  • I don’t think so!!!

  • Wastes of one organism become nutrients for other organisms

  • Human Waste? Has to go somewhere . . .

    • 1. Waste Management – the high waste approach

      • AKA: Disposal

    • 2. Waste Reduction – the low waste approach

      • AKA: Diversion

Waste management
Waste Management

  • Views that waste production is an unavoidable product of economic growth

  • Attempt to manage resulting wastes in ways that reduce environmental harm

  • Methods: landfills, incineration, shipping

  • Basically = mixing of wastes and transferring them from one part of the environment to another

Waste reduction
Waste Reduction

  • Recognizes that there is “no away!”

  • Views most solid waste as potential resources that we should be reusing, recycling, or composting

  • 5 R’s (In order of importance)

    • Rethink traditional strategies for dealing with wastes

    • Refuse to manufacture or purchase harmful products

    • Reduce packaging or other wasteful materials in products

    • Reuse products and buy reusable products like returnable bottles

    • Recycle products (including composting)