What are the Different Types of Waste Management Equipment?

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  • Written By: Parker Brown
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2019
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There are many different types of waste management equipment, all of which mainly involve the relocation and compacting of waste. Waste includes anything from trash found in household garbage cans to toxic waste produced by chemical plants. Different types of waste require specific equipment and treatment, due to the variance in waste type and the safety of the substance being handled. The most common type of waste management equipment is the garbage truck, which is used to move waste to be stored and compacted. Waste management equipment tends to be detrimental to many parts of life, including health and aesthetics.

While waste management equipment includes incredibly complicated machines, it also consists of much simpler equipment, such as garbage cans, which come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Small, simple cans consisting primarily of plastic commonly are found in homes. Larger cans are used for public and industrial purposes, where larger volumes of waste need to be contained. These cans often have lids or some sort of overhead covering, which is used mainly for odor containment or aesthetic purposes. Nearly all garbage cans use garbage bags, which allow for waste to be easily taken out.


In non-residential waste management processes, garbage is typically stored in a large dumpster. Dumpsters are fully enclosed and usually have a removable top or a small hatch for depositing garbage. Many dumpsters also have drainage holes near the bottom to drain any excess liquid from the collected garbage as it decomposes. After a certain period of time, a garbage truck will collect the waste by using mechanized forks that insert into slots on either side of a dumpster. The forks then pick up the dumpster, and dump any waste within it into the truck.

Garbage trucks come in different varieties to accommodate different types of dumpsters, or under some circumstances, the waste being handled. Typically, however, garbage trucks are identified by how they load garbage. There are front loaders, rear loaders, side loaders, pneumatic collectors, and grappling trucks. Front, rear and side loaders load garbage exactly as their name suggests: either from the front, rear, or side. This is usually done through mechanized forks that lift the dumpsters upside-down over the truck, which forces the garbage out.

Pneumatic collection trucks handle waste in a somewhat similar manner to a vacuum cleaner. In some situations, waste is stored underground in a liquified form, such as sewage and chemical waste. These types of garbage trucks have a crane with a large hose attached. This hose can be connected to an opening in the ground, and any liquid stored below is sucked out through a vacuum. Grappling trucks, on the other hand, are used for collecting large amounts of solid waste; these also have cranes, but instead of a hose, they have a large grappling "claw."

Other types of waste management equipment include trash compactors, which can be found in the backs of most garbage trucks and in nearly all waste treatment plants. Other equipment may include reprocessing and recycling machines that salvage and combine basic materials for reuse. Most commonly, however, garbage is stored in landfills. Since the garbage in landfills is often non-reusable, it is typically destroyed completely through incineration.


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