WasteWaste Treatment

Waste Segregation: Process and Importance with Case Studies

Introduction: Waste exists in different types and the way it has to be managed is also different. Therefore, it is very important to understand what is waste Segregation and how to do it. This comes first in the process of waste management. It refers to the process in which different types of wastes are first separated and then collected differently.


There should be no confusion between waste segregation and waste sorting as both are different aspects. The latter comes after the first.

There Are Two Types of Waste:

Wet wastes (biodegradable ones i.e. which decomposes):  It refers to biological waste produced by eating products and is heavier in weight than dry wastes. This includes cooked and uncooked food, fruits, flower waste, and vegetable peels.

Dry wastes (non-biodegradable ones i.e. which don’t decompose): Dry waste includes plastics, wood, metals, glass, and other related products. The treatment is through various waste disposal methods.

Steps to Manage and Segregate Waste

We can also call it the process of waste segregation: We can further differentiate waste during segregation into the following:

Wet/Kitchen Waste

Kitchen waste mainly refers to the wastes generated from household activities such as fruit and vegetable peels, twigs, leaves, cooked and uncooked food. Such wastes go in a green bin.

The processes such as vermicomposting, aerobic, and anaerobic composting can be successfully operated on them to convert them into organic compost.

Dry Waste

Dry waste is of two types – Recyclable and non-recyclable wastes. The second type of wastes includes paper towels, food containers, dishware, and foam materials.

On the other hand, dry recyclable wastes include cutlery, tires, pet bottles, boxes, cans, glass bottles, newspapers, etc. Dry waste has a separate compartment for its collection.

It first goes into a blue dustbin from where later on recyclable and non-recyclable wastes are segregated. Recyclable wastes can even fetch one some money. There are several trash/magazine collectors, local scrap dealers, and municipal corporations where you can submit the trash and can get something in return.

Sanitary Waste

Sanitary waste includes things like Sanitary napkins, health-related products, sharp razors and blades, and medical wastes. These can be very dangerous for human health if left in the open. To prevent the spread of hazardous diseases, these wastes go through incineration, autoclaving, or microwaving.

On an individual level, one should dispose of such things in a red dustbin or as marked red. This will make sure that it’s not mixed with the other waste.


As the name suggests, e-waste refers to electronic wastes. The division is into three parts:

  • Bulky – Irreparable fridge, washing machines, and other electronic goods that we can’t carry around come under this category.
  • Hazardous – All electronic equipment containing chemicals fall into this category such as tube lights, toner cartridges, light bulbs, monitors, screens, and batteries.
  • Non-hazardous – Mobile phones, cables, chargers, and computers.

Case Studies on Waste Segregation Technique:

The United States:

With such a large population, the US generates a huge amount of waste in the world. However, they have also focused on recycling their waste well. They adopted different regulatory and voluntary programs – first, to segregate e-waste from other wastes and then – recycle it. For example, the Adoption of State Recycling Act by the state of California in 2003 to promote e-waste recycling.

Another act: Approval of the State Wireless Recycling Act by the government of New York. It emphasized that retailers and service providers should be influenced to take part in the programs focusing on the recycling and reuse of e-waste.


India generates around 62 million tones of waste every year. There are three major landfills in the union territory of Delhi. They are Bhalswa, Okhla, and Ghazipur. However, these landfills were unable to bear the trash load.

So, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) modified The Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM) 2016. Through this, they made a provision of waste segregation at the source itself. The new rules stated that it is the waste producer’s responsibility to categorize waste into different components.

The foremost step to prevent this from happening is to segregate waste so that it can be sorted and treated scientifically at the source.


We know the Umbria region of Italy for its effective waste management system. It has adopted various norms and regulations for waste segregation and treatment. People living there used medium technology and disposal facilities and achieved a recycling rate of about 50%. Such good management even in a medium technology is impressive.

Importance of Segregating Waste

We cannot stress enough the importance of waste segregation. It helps in several ways. Some of them are as follows:



Waste segregation is an essential step to boost the process of recycling. Separating biodegradable waste from non-biodegradable ones can help many recycling companies. They will be able to recycle non-biodegradable waste and treat the degradable ones directly. This will help reduce the overall pollution as only degradable wastes will be left for disposition into the earth.

Saves Time

We can save a lot of time if everyone starts using waste segregation techniques at the source. This can be a weapon in treating more and more wastes that were earlier difficult to treat. It will not only make us self-dependent but also reduce the load of pollution.

Protects Environment

If waste segregation is not done, then there might be a mix-up when it reaches the landfills. It’s good if they don’t contain harmful and toxic gases. But, what if it contains methane gas or carbon dioxide gas? This will lead to a severe problem as both are greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Moreover, when the disposal of trash happens without segregation, harmful chemicals may leak into the soil. This can damage soil fertility and ultimately have a very dangerous effect on the health of humans in the long run.

Waste segregation helps us in tackling these problems and maintains the sanitation of our surrounding environment.

Public Health

When the trash is dumped without segregation, it can cause health-related problems. It may contain non-biodegradable and toxic waste, which can cause several types of illnesses such as skin irritations, growth problems, and many more. That’s why waste segregation is vital for your own and public health and helps improve the quality of your life.

In conclusion, we can say that the importance of segregating waste is non-negotiable. The role it plays in improving health and the environment is very important. We should not take it lightly. Therefore, let us all spend some time every day putting our wastes in order. Waste segregation benefits all and makes our cities sustainable and livable.

Practicing waste segregation should be a habit rather than an obligation!!

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