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Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)

Recycling of packaging waste is the process whereby the packaging materials (glass, paper, plastic, aluminum and tin iron) are utilized and re-introduced into the production cycle.

The term solid waste or litter describes, solid or semi-solid materials generated mainly by humans, which have no direct value and are undesirable by their owner who wishes to dispose of them. In a broader sense, solid waste includes materials produced not only in urban areas but also due to agricultural, industrial and mining activities (Andreadakis et al., 2008).

Every commodity exists or is created to serve a purpose, to meet a need, referring to the owner of the commodity. If this commodity ceases to serve a particular purpose, because the original need may have disappeared and no new need has arisen for the commodity, then it is considered as waste for its owner. Another citizen, however, might need this commodity and may assign to it a new purpose of existence by eliminating it as waste and restoring it as a new commodity (for example, old furniture, used clothing, materials resulting from demolitions etc). Therefore, the concept of waste is related to a subject, an owner, since the utility of a commodity is subjective.

The concepts of waste reuse, recovery and recycling are based on this very wording. (Panagiotakopoulos, 2002). Adopting the recent definition of the European Union in reference to the MSW waste, the latter refers to household as well as other waste which by nature or composition is similar to household waste.

This definition, though unclear, separates municipal solid waste from three other basic categories, hazardous waste (mainly industrial or infectious), inert waste (mainly from construction work) and sludge, for which separate collection and treatment/disposal is required (excluding sludge for which co-treatment and co-disposal are possible). According to this definition, the largest proportion (approximately 80%) of MSW is of domestic origin and thus a more consistent comparative assessment of the quantitative and qualitative characteristics in different countries or regions is possible (Andreadakis et al., 2008).