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Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) can be defined as solid waste which includes all domestic refuse and non-hazardous wastes such as commercial and institutional wastes, street sweepings and construction debris.


The major types of MSW are food wastes, paper, plastic, rags, metal and glass, with some hazardous household wastes such as electric light bulbs, batteries, discarded medicines and automotive parts.


MSW is thus seen as primarily coming from households but also includes wastes from offices, hotels, shopping complexes/shops, schools, institutions, and from municipal services such as street cleaning and maintenance of recreational areas.


In some countries the solid wastes management system also handles human wastes such as night-soil, ashes from incinerators, septic tank sludge and sludge from sewage treatment plants. The complexities and enormity of the challenges become evident when considering other waste types to be managed and these include industrial solid waste, municipal wastewater, industrial wastewater, storm water and hazardous waste.

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