Industrial Waste: Types

We have millions of factories, mills, industries, mining plants, etc. around the world. These industries use raw materials to produce finished goods for consumers. But in the manufacturing process, there are materials which are rendered useless. They constitute the industrial waste. Some examples of industrial wastes are metals, paints, sandpaper, slag, ash, radioactive wastes, etc. In this article, we will discuss different types of industrial wastes and their disposal.

Industrial waste

Types of Industrial Waste

Industrial waste can be categorized into biodegradable and non-biodegradable.

  • Biodegradable: Those industrial wastes which can be decomposed into the non-poisonous matter by the action of certain microorganisms are the biodegradable wastes. They are even comparable to house wastes. These kinds of waste are generated from food processing industries, dairy, textile mills, slaughterhouses, etc. Some examples are paper, leather, wool, animal bones, wheat, etc. They are not toxic in nature and they do not require special treatment either. Their treatment processes include combustion, composting, gasification, bio-methanation, etc.
  • Non-biodegradable: Those industrial wastes which cannot be decomposed into non-poisonous substances are the non-biodegradable wastes. Examples are plastics, fly ash, synthetic fibers, gypsum, silver foil, glass objects, radioactive wastes, etc. They are generated by iron and steel plants, fertilizer industries, chemical, drugs, and dyes industries. It is estimated that about 10 to 15 percentage of the total industrial wastes are non-biodegradable and hazardous, and the rate of increase in this category of waste is only increasing every year. These wastes cannot be broken down easily and made less harmful. Hence, they pollute the environment and cause threat to living organisms. They accumulate in the environment and enter the bodies of animals and plants causing diseases. However, with the advancement in technology, several disposals, and reuse methods have been developed. Wastes from one industry are being treated and utilized in another industry. For example, the cement industry uses the slag and fly ash generated as waste by steel industries. Landfill and incineration are other methods which are being resorted to, for the treated of hazardous wastes.

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