The Different Types Of Waste

The are different types of waste that we generate as a society.

This guide is a quick overview of those types of waste, and also what they each include in terms of different materials.


Summary – The Different Types Of Waste

Main Types Of Waste

There’s really two main waste streams that we have in society – residential/municipal waste, and also commercial/industrial waste


Waste Types Based On Traits & Properties

Within each of the main waste types, the different types of waste based on traits, properties and capability to recycle might be:

Liquid Waste

Solid Waste

Organic Waste 

Recyclable Waste

Hazardous Waste


There’s many other sub-waste categories, but the above captures most types of waste we generate.

We also put together a guide on waste pollution that details these different types of waste, and has a more extensive list of waste types in their resource


Main Ways Of Managing Waste

There can be different ways of managing the different types of waste we produce.

Landfill, incineration, recycling, and composting are some of the main ways, but special waste like hazardous waste might be managed differently.

The approach taken to waste management across society depends on different variables and factors.


What Are The Different Types Of Waste, & What Do They Include?

– Liquid Waste

Waste that come in liquid form

Some of the main examples of liquid waste are storm water, waste water/grey water, and wash water 


– Solid Waste

Any solid waste that is not organic, recyclable or hazardous.

Can include paper and paperboard, glass, metals, plastics, yard trimmings, food, wood, rubber and leather, textiles, miscellaneous inorganic waste and other types of waste

When talking about commercial and industrial waste, construction and demolition, as well as mining waste might be included in solid waste material


– Organic Waste 

Organic waste mainly comes from plant and animals sources

Food waste from vegetables, fruit, meat are common examples

Organic waste can also come from outdoor sources though, such as yard trimmings, gardening waste, and so on

Organic waste can usually be composted as it’s mostly biodegradable


– Recyclable Waste

Recyclable waste is waste that can be turned in to recycled content/material, or waste that materials can be recovered from (such as metal from e-waste)

Aluminum items like soda cans and food cans, metals like steel are common examples of recyclable waste

Other examples may include some plastics (rigid plastics), some paper and cardboard (white paper, newspaper, brown paper and cardboard), and some glass bottles

We’ve previously put together a guide about the materials with the highest recycling rates


– Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste generally includes waste that is flammable, reactive, corrosive or toxic.

Some specific examples of hazardous waste include water reactives, cyanides, explosives, unstable chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs, some specialty batteries (e.g. lithium or lead containing batteries), cathode ray tubes, mercury-containing devices and so on.

Universal hazardous wastes, household hazardous wastes, biomedical and clinical hazardous waste, industrial hazardous waste, as well as special hazardous waste (includes radioactive waste, explosive waste, and electronic waste) – are all other categories of different hazardous wastes.















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