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8 Waste Disposal Problems & Solutions (2024)

8 Waste Disposal Problems and 8 Solutions - Almost Zero Waste

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Many of our daily activities involve the creation of waste. That can be slightly problematic, because, globally, we dispose of our everyday waste very inefficiently. 

Inappropriate waste disposal can cause many problems for human health and the environment. 

The main waste disposal problems include producing too much waste, most of which is toxic. Landfills have become challenging to manage, and we still rely on old technology to reduce and recycle waste. Some green-labeled waste disposal technologies are not green, and regulations are based on vested interests.

Let’s take a closer look at each problem and see a few promising waste disposal solutions. 

Keep reading to find out about:

  1. What is waste disposal?
  2. 8 waste disposal issues
  3. 8 waste disposal solutions
  4. Sum up

Let’s begin.

What is waste disposal?

Waste disposal is the process of getting rid of and destroying damaged domestic, agricultural, and unwanted products or substances.

Waste disposal involves collecting, processing, and recycling or depositing waste material. This involves burning, discharge at sea/lake/river, recycling, and burial at landfill sites. 

Waste comes in different forms, it can be liquid, solid, or gaseous, and each has its disposal method and management.

8 Common Waste Disposal Problems:

1. Landfill pollution

There is a lack of proper on-site waste management in most landfills. This issue increases leachate, the liquid formed when waste breaks down in the landfill.

This liquid is highly toxic and can pollute land, groundwater, and waterways. The next issue is greenhouse gases. When organic materials like food scraps are sent to landfills, they are covered by other trash. 

The food waste then breaks down in an anaerobic process, which releases methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Methane is also a flammable gas that can become dangerous if allowed to build up in concentration. Yikes. In addition, laws and regulations dealing with landfills’ operations are often slack.

Waste disposal problems and solutions

2. Flawed regulations and laws

Nowadays, waste disposal and management have become a profit-making venture. Sewer systems, incinerators, and landfills are managed by large enterprises in the waste disposal business. 

The corporation’s goal is to make profits regardless of the waste reduction requirements. 

This leads to ineffective regulation of waste disposal since they collaborate with vested interest regulators.

3. Relying on old technologies 

Waste disposal and management facilities rely on quick, inefficient, and outdated technologies instead of developing effective recycling and waste reduction programs. 

Most states and countries are reluctant regarding newer and advanced technologies that can reduce the volume of waste.

Waste disposal problems and solutions

4. Too much waste

We create too much waste. According to C&R Lewis Skip Hire, this is one of the significant waste disposal problems.

A study found that America produces about 220 million tons of waste every year. And this is only America. Imagine how bit that number is when we combine the rest of the world.

The problem also lies in companies producing one-time products that do not prioritize reuse, recycling, or using environmentally friendly materials. 

5. Toxic waste

Most state and local authorities are very lenient when it comes to the regulation of toxic substances.

Chances are, there are toxic chemicals in many of the products in your home, and unfortunately, many of you use a lot of various toxic products daily, such as:

  • Solvent-based paints 
  • Pesticides and other garden chemicals 
  • Batteries 
  • Cleaning and polishing chemicals 

Often, they are disposed of incorrectly, which risks our health and the environment. 

A report by the U.S. EPA shows that more than 60,000 untested chemicals are present in the consumer products in our homes. 

And this is just what we, as consumers, produce. So the amount of pollution from corporations and industries is a huge issue, too. 

Waste disposal problems and solutions

6. Some “green” technologies are not truly green 

Some recycling technologies are considered “green.” However, when you look into it, they aren’t that sustainable. Some of these technologies include gasification, pyrolysis & plasma incineration.

When burning trash, toxic materials are released into the environment, so it isn’t the best solution for waste disposal.

7. Too many single-use plastics

 As shocking as it might sound, a massive amount of plastic waste (~40%) is from single-use packaging. 

We can replace single-use plastics with more sustainable alternatives. However, for some reason, you can still find them EVERYWHERE.

A positive sign is that laws are rolled over, and many states/countries finally ban various single-use plastics. 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t magically remove all the single-use plastics accumulated from before. 

The vast majority of plastic waste (40%) finds its way into landfills, where it gradually breaks down for years and years. Ugh.

Waste disposal problems and solutions

8. Contamination and improper recycling

Recycling is a very grey area. It has different rules from city to city. And most people don’t know how exactly to handle things.

Even though I spend a lot of time researching various questions on recycling, I still wonder sometimes and can’t figure out where to throw away certain things.

The problem is that when we mix up our trash, it is very hard to separate it from the recycling facility.

Plus, mixing trash can contaminate the whole batch and make recycling difficult and unsuccessful.

That’s why it is important to find out what you can recycle and how to separate your trash. Otherwise, recyclable items will go to landfill.

Waste disposal problems and solutions

8 Waste Disposal Solutions:

1. Compost

The best thing you can do is start composting your food scraps. It is an easy and effective way to reduce your waste – it will turn food scraps into soil. 

Composting can also reduce methane emissions from landfills and lower your carbon footprint.

If you decide to try it out, you can choose between a few easy and effective composting systems. You can follow my step-by-step guide for 7 different composting methods

Waste disposal problems and solutions

2. Recycle correctly (especially the toxic substances)

Make sure you separate your trash correctly. If you mix up waste, you will contaminate the whole recycling batch.

Check out the exact recycling rules in your local area since they usually vary from city to city.

If you have household hazardous waste and you wonder how to dispose of it properly:

  • Always check first the laws and rules of your local municipality
  • Look for locations where you can drop off any household hazardous waste

While recycling isn’t very efficient, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to improve it. 

It saves energy, keeps materials out of landfills and incinerators, and we can make new products without using virgin materials. So we should try to do it properly.  

Waste disposal problems and solutions

3. Contact your local municipality 

You can contact your local municipality with various questions, complaints, or suggestions for improving waste disposal in your area. 

Know that contacting your local municipality can be a bit frustrating. Once I tried to do it since we have containers for food waste in my city, and I wanted to ask where the food scraps are sent.

After a day of phone calls, I was forwarded from one person to another. But, in the end, I couldn’t find a clear answer to my question.

If you have the time and nerves, you can still send some suggestions or ask for improvements. 

4. Choose sustainable plastic-free options

Do not underestimate the power of your individual decisions. By choosing product brands that align with your values, you vote with your wallet, supporting the type of businesses you want worldwide.

As a consumer, you always have the power to “vote” with your dollar and encourage corporations and firms to move to more environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. 

Whenever you can, choose products and services that are:

  • Locally made 
  • Plastic-free 
  • Sustainable 
  • Cruelty-free 
Waste disposal problems and solutions
Waste disposal problems and solutions

5. Avoiding toxic waste

Bleach, furniture, oven cleaners, air fresheners, antifreeze, all-purpose cleaners, etc. When you use these chemicals in your toilets, sinks, dishwashers, etc., the chemicals are rinsed down the drain. 

The water heads to wastewater treatment facilities, but most contaminants still make their way to rivers and lakes. 

The solution is to ditch all the toxic chemicals you use and find environmentally-friendly alternatives. 

Luckily, there are better & more sustainable alternatives to almost anything now.

Related post: 21 Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps & 32 Zero Waste Kitchen Products

Waste disposal problems and solutions

6. Saying NO to single-use plastics

Single-use plastics are incredibly wasteful, so ditching them will be the best thing you can do.

You can easily find reusable and eco-friendly alternatives to common single-use plastics like:

  • Plastic water bottle = Reusable stainless steel bottle
  • Plastic bag = Reusable bag
  • Plastic cutlery = Reusable cutlery set 
  • Disposable coffee cup = Reusable coffee cup
  • Disposable food containers = Reusable food container
  • Trash can = Reusable recycling bins
  • Disposable & plastic razor = Reusable stainless steel razor 
  • Plastic toothbrush = Bamboo toothbrush 
  • Toothpaste tube = Plastic-free toothpaste 
  • Menstrual single-use products = Menstrual cup / Reusable pads
  • Shampoo in a plastic bottle = Shampoo bar 
  • Deodorant spray = Ethical deodorant in plastic-free packaging 

These are just a few examples. For more, check my article with zero waste swaps & sustainable alternatives.

Waste disposal problems and solutions

7. Start a petition

By starting a petition, you can encourage laws that deal with proper waste disposal.

You can start a petition at Change.org and see some examples of Proper waste disposal petitions.

8. Teach about personal eco-responsibility

Informing others about proper waste management can significantly help reduce unsustainable practices and waste. 

Any efforts towards waste management education need to be encouraged and practiced by individuals, local authorities, and communities. 

Related post: Can Individual Actions Make A Difference On Climate Change?

Sum up 

Proper waste disposal can be achieved, but it is not an easy task. Local authorities must formulate waste diversion plans and aim for:

  • increasing recycling rates
  • proper disposal at landfills and waste transfer facilities
  • educating people about proper waste disposal
  • eco-product responsibility & Polluter pay principle – a law that requires polluters to pay for their impact on the environment. The goal is equity, to set environmental standards, and to encourage sustainable development 
  • ban unsustainable single-use items

When it comes to us, the consumers, we also have plenty of ways to help and to inspire & promote positive change.

Related post: How Can We Encourage People To Produce Less Waste?

We can’t take everything into our hands, and most things we can do may seem minor. 

However, on a bigger scale, if everyone decides to make more sustainable choices, this will have a positive impact.

What are some other waste disposal problems & solutions that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Good work and amazing article.
    I hope the world would understand the need and importance of disposing waste properly especially medical waste that could be highly dangerous to human health.
    Stay safe human kind!

  2. Go right ahead, sister. Global warming is a critical problem in this present era. Most of us now gradually are concerned about this. we should expose the problems of waste disposal and inform the right solution. Thank you sister again.

  3. Actually i liked it suppose theirs alot of waste all over mismanaged as a youth it encourages me to conserve my enviroment to avoid such pollution.(kenyan)

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