The trash


The garbage is all that physical considered as waste and that needs to be eliminated. Garbage is a product of human activities which is considered to have a value equal to zero due to its disposal, it does not necessarily have to be odorous, disgusting and undesirable, that depends on its origin and composition.

Normally it is placed in predestined places for collection to be channeled to dumps or dumps, sanitary landfills or another place. Currently, this term is used to refer to that fraction of waste that is not usable and therefore should be treated and disposed of to avoid health or environmental problems.


The word comes from the Latin *vers_ra, meaning "to sweep". For this reason, it can be said that the original meaning was "what has been swept away". 2000/532/CE (European Union))

Waste sorting

Garbage can be recycled according to its composition:

  •     Organic waste. It is all waste of biological origin, was ever alive or was part of a living being, for example: leaves, branches, shells and residues from the manufacture of food at home, etc.c. 
  •     Inorganic waste. It is all waste of non-biological origin, of industrial, anthropic origin or of some other non-natural process, for example: plastic, synthetic fabrics, etc.
  •    Dangerous waste. It is all waste, whether of biological origin or not, that constitutes a potential danger (CRETIP code) and for which it must be treated in a special way. For example: infectious medical material, radioactive waste, acids and corrosive chemical substances, etc. 

A list of hazardous waste can be consulted in section 4 of article 1 of Directive 91/689/CEE, on hazardous waste (approved by Decision 2000/532/CE, of the Commission (European Union), of May 3 , modified by Commission Decisions 2001/118/CE, of January 16, and 2001/119, of January 22, and by Council Decision 2001/573, of July 23).

According to its origin:

  •     Household waste: Garbage from homes and/or communitiess. 
  •    Industrial waste: Its origin is the product of the manufacturing or transformation process of the raw material. 
  •     Hospital waste: These are wastes that are generally classified as hazardous waste and can be organic and inorganic. 
  •     Commercial waste: Coming from fairs, offices, stores, etc., whose composition is organic, such as remains of fruits, vegetables, cardboard, paper, etc.
  •     Urban waste. It corresponds to populations, such as waste from parks and gardens, useless urban furniture, etc.
  •     Space junk. This is the name given to satellites and other artifacts of human origin that, while in Earth orbit, have already exhausted their useful life.

Beholder classification residues

Paper and cardboard are of organic origin, however, for recycling purposes they must be treated as inorganic by the particular process that is given to them. The exception is paper and napkins with food residues that are considered organic material. 
Other types of waste, such as those from human metabolism, are also organic, however they are managed through sanitation networks and not through collection and final disposal schemes. 

The waste problem

Unusable waste is a problem for many societies, especially for large cities as well as for the entire population of the planet, due to the fact that overpopulation, modern human activities and consumerism have greatly increased the amount of garbage that we generate. The foregoing, together with the inefficient handling that is done with said waste (open burning, disposal in dumps or inefficient landfills) causes problems such as contamination, which summarizes health problems and damage to the environment, in addition to causing social and political conflicts.
Before becoming garbage, the residues have been raw materials that, in their extraction process, are generally from developing countries. In production and consumption, energy and water have been used. And only 7 countries, which are only 20% of the world's population, consume more than 50% of the natural and energy resources of our planet.
The overexploitation of natural resources and the increase in pollution threaten the regenerative capacity of natural systems.

The solution to the problem

Classified household solid waste. 1) glass containers, 2) thin plastic, 3) thick plastic, 4) cardboard, 5) miscellaneous, 6) compacted cans, 7) paper, 8) polystyrene, 9) glassware, 10) batteries, 11) metals diverse, 12) organic, 13) tetrapak, 14) fabrics, 15) sanitary.

Ideally, garbage -as such- should not exist; Nature teaches that everything produced and created is returned to the environment and the same should be sought with the garbage, that is, that everything be reused in one way or another. This indicates a comprehensive solution in which the concept of garbage would disappear. Various initiatives exist to reduce or solve the problem, depending mainly on governments, industries, individuals or society as a whole. Some general solutions to the garbage problem are:

  •     Reduce the amount of waste generated.
  •     Reintegration of waste into the production cycle.
  •     Adequate channeling of final waste. Decrease with the degradation of the organic part.

Waste reduction 

Waste reduction measures can be grouped into:

  • Decrease the amount of potential waste in products.
  • Guide the manufacture of products to reuse and recycling, both their packaging and the materials that compose them.
  • Reuse and recycle at all levels of the production and consumption cycle.
  • Correct waste planning. 
  • All waste is efficiently sorted.
  • The waste of raw materials is avoided to the maximum.
    En lugar de un sistema de producción, consumo y eliminación, se tiene un proceso cíclico de producción, donde la mayor parte de los residuos de la producción así como del consumo sean reintegrados al ciclo productivo de la misma forma que la naturaleza lo hace. 
  • Instead of a system of production, consumption and elimination, there is a cyclical production process, where most of the waste from production as well as from consumption are reintegrated into the productive cycle in the same way that nature does.

Final waste channeling

All those residues that are not reintegrated into the production cycle must be properly channeled, especially hazardous waste.. 
Avoid disposal systems that pose a risk to the environment and our health.

Rule 4R

Pedagogically, the '4 R strategy' has become popular, which consists of four basic general measures that contribute to the problem of waste management, among others. These basic actions aimed at the general population, but equally applicable to the whole of society are:

  •    reduction;
  •    recovery; 
  •    reuse; 
  •   recycling.


Landfills or garbage cans are those places where the garbage is finally deposited. These can be official or clandestine:

Clandestine landfill: It is a place that, without environmental considerations, is chosen by some human group to deposit their solid waste. They are a serious source of pollution, diseases and other problems. 
Municipal or urban landfill: It is a landfill that, under certain economic, social and environmental considerations or studies, is destined by municipal or civic governments. They are also known as "controlled dumps" or "sanitary landfills." 

Pollution generated

The garbage generated by a group or human settlement is destined for the current traditional landfills. This usually contains organic remains (such as food), plastics, paper, glass, metals, paints, cloth, diapers, batteries, and a wide variety of objects and substances considered undesirable.
In the process of decomposition of matter in landfills, leachates are formed that drag toxic products present in the garbage, and contaminate groundwater, which is sometimes used for human consumption and irrigation.
Significant amounts of gases such as methane, CO2 (gas responsible for the greenhouse effect) or toxic gases such as benzene, trichlorethylene, etc. are released into the air.
During accidental or arson fires at these landfills, chlorinated products are released into the atmosphere as they burn, some as toxic as dioxins, one of the most toxic substances known, declared carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Despite efforts to recover the materials contained in the waste, landfills are still needed as infrastructure for waste disposal.
The reduction of environmental impacts, previously mentioned, can be achieved by designing landfills in such a way that contamination of the environment in which they are located is avoided.
In this regard, measures must be taken to waterproof landfills and install leachate collection systems, so as to avoid water and soil contamination.
Some impacts from landfills can also be prevented by recovery systems for the biogas produced in the decomposition of organic matter.
A solution to eliminate the problems of both biogas emissions and highly contaminated leachates is the biological mechanical treatment which, in addition to the elimination of biogas and leachate contamination, significantly reduces the volume to be confined and opens the option of making profits with the certification and commercialization of carbon credits.

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