What is Industrial Waste Management?

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  • Written By: Klaus Strasser
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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Industrial waste management generally refers to a set of strategies and approaches that aim to eliminate, reduce, reprocess or dispose of waste produced in an industrial setting. Industrial waste can be toxic, chemical, solid, liquid, or nonhazardous. Typically, however, industrial waste management is concerned with the proper disposal of industrial byproducts that could be harmful to the environment. Some of the common approaches to industrial waste management include emphasis on recycling programs, incineration, and landfills.

In industrial production, many materials are employed to manufacture products and because of the scale of that production, a lot of waste is generally produced. As a result of the size of the problem, industrial companies employ waste managers to focus solely on the issue of proper and effective disposal of waste. Most of that focus is in complying with eco-friendly laws which are becoming more common by various governmental bodies. Some of these laws propose penalties in the forms of fines or increased taxes.

There are many different approaches to industrial waste management. Waste may be collected and transported for disposal at another location, or it might be disposed of on site. Recycling or reusing are other solutions that industrial companies are implementing. All these solutions can help reduce the amount of industrial waste a company disposes of.


The type of industrial waste produced is an important factor in determining the most effective disposal method. Two of the most common methods of waste disposal are the use of landfills and incineration devices. Depending on the type of waste, it can be disposed of or buried underground at a landfill site. This approach, however, is limited, as certain materials which are not dangerous to the environment. Chemical waste or other types of toxic waste are not to dumped at landfills because it can seep into the groundwater and present a health concern to nearby populations. Incinerators are also used to burn waste materials in appropriate cases. Environmental groups, however, typically do not favor this approach because of the related emission of hazardous gases.

In general, recycling, when possible, is a favored solution of industrial waste managers and environmentalists. Recycling has two general advantages: it is environmentally-friendly because it converts used products into usable materials, and it can be a source of revenue or reduce costs. A company can convert previously useless waste into a material that they may re-use in their own manufacturing process obviating the need to purchase that material anew, or the company can sell the material for a profit. Some of the most common recycling strategies employed in industrial waste management include biological and physical reprocessing, and energy recovery.


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