Types of Waste: Definition, Characteristics, and How to Overcome Them

Types of Waste: Definition of Waste, Characteristics of Waste, and Ways to Handle Waste – Humans in carrying out their daily activities cannot be separated from what is called the environment. The environment in question is an environment capable of supporting human life and other living things. Therefore, this environment must be maintained so that humans and other living things can live healthier longer.

However, in terms of population development, both in terms of necessities of life, increasing population, to human greed towards the environment and its surroundings. All things related to population development, especially human greed, make the environment disturbed. In fact, this disturbed environment can make the existing balance in the environment unbalanced.

One of the causes of the scope imbalance is the large amount of waste generated or caused by daily human activities. The waste that is around us can cause our health to be disrupted, and can even damage the chain in an ecosystem.

Therefore, knowing or recognizing knowledge about waste is needed by everyone. This article will discuss the definition of waste and how to deal with waste. So, read this article until it’s finished.

Definition of Waste

Waste generated from humans always has a bad connotation, such as smell, dirty, source of disease, and so on. It is undeniable that every day humans will always produce waste, such as eating, drinking, and washing. In fact, on a larger scale, waste is generated from factory activities.

Before discussing further about the types of waste, the characteristics of waste, and how to deal with waste, it is better to discuss the definition of waste itself first. By understanding the meaning of waste, other discussions about waste will be easy to understand.

Law Number 32 of 2009

In article 1 point 20 of Law Number 32 of 2009 concerning Environmental Protection and Management, waste is the residue of a business and/or activity.

Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI)

Waste in the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI) means the rest of the production process; Materials that have no value or are not valuable for ordinary or primary purposes in the manufacture or use; Goods damaged or defective in the production process.


According to Karmana, waste is residue or waste from a process of human activity which can become a pollutant in an environment.


According to Susilowarno, waste is residue or by-products originating from various human activities in an effort to meet life’s needs.

Cahyono Budi Utomo

According to Cahyono, waste is a substance or object that arises as a result of human activity that is no longer used and is discarded.

After discussing the definition of waste based on the Law, KBBI, and according to several experts, it can be concluded that waste is leftovers, trash, and something that is no longer used by humans which if left unchecked can cause pollutants or environmental damage, very dangerous isn’t it?

Waste Type

The types of waste are grouped into three groups, namely waste based on its compounds, waste based on its form, and waste based on its source.

1. Types of Waste Based on Their Compounds

The first type of waste group is waste based on its compounds. This waste group is divided into three, namely organic waste, inorganic waste, and B3 waste.

a) Organic waste

Organic waste is waste that comes from living things that is easy to decompose naturally and easily decomposes. Examples of organic wastes are leaves that fall to the ground, grass, food scraps, vegetable and fruit skins, human and animal waste, and animal bones.

In general, the organic wastes that we often see come from homes, restaurants, hotels and agriculture.

b) Inorganic waste

Inorganic waste is waste that comes from the remains of human activities and this waste is very difficult to decompose naturally and naturally decomposes. Therefore, this type of waste is very dangerous for humans and other living things.

Examples of inorganic waste, such as leftover soap or dishes, used drink bottles, plastic bags, cans, paper, cloth, paper, and many more.

c) B3 waste

The last type of waste based on its compounds is B3 waste. The term “B3” stands for Hazardous and Toxic Materials. From the name alone, this waste can threaten and endanger the environment. In fact, human health is also seriously threatened by the presence of B3 waste.

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B3 waste is dangerous because it contains compounds that are difficult to decompose and are toxic. These compounds are heavy metals, such as Al, Cr, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb, Mn, Hg, and Zn. In addition, these dangerous compounds can also be found in chemicals, such as cyanide, phenol, pesticides, sulfides, and others.

2. Types of Waste Based on Their Shape

The second type of waste group is waste based on its form. This type of waste group is divided into three, namely solid waste, liquid waste, and gaseous waste.

a) Solid waste

Solid waste is waste that is solid and comes from the residue of domestic activities or industrial activities. Examples of solid waste, such as paper, iron filings, cloth, plastic, wood, and iron filings.

Solid waste can be classified into six categories, namely organic waste that perishes ( garbage ), inorganic and non-decomposing organic waste ( rubbish ), ashes ( ashes ), dead animal waste ( dead animal ), street sweeping waste and waste. industry ( industrial waste ).

b) Liquid waste

Liquid waste is waste that has an oblong shape and comes from the remains of domestic activities or production processes. The liquid waste itself is in the form of water that has been mixed or suspended with the waste materials resulting from production residues.

Liquid waste can be classified into four groups, namely domestic wastewater , industrial wastewater , infiltration and inflow , and storm water .

c) Waste gases

Gas waste is waste in which air is the medium. The more waste gas that rises into the air, the lower the air quality. In fact, the gaseous waste that is left in the air can disturb the health of humans and other living things. The gas waste itself can come from motor vehicle exhaust, forest fire smoke, factory smoke, and others.

Examples of waste gases such as Carbon Monoxide (CO), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), Sulfur Oxide (SOx), Hydrochloric Acid (HCI), Ammonia (NH3), Methane (CH4), Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) ), Nitrogen Sulfide (NS), and Chlorine (Cl2).

3. Types of Waste Based on the Source

The third type of waste group is waste based on its source. Based on the source, there are six types of waste, namely household waste, industrial waste, agricultural waste, medical waste, mining waste and tourism waste.

a) Household waste

Household waste is waste originating from human activities in the house or its environment. Therefore, household waste is also called domestic waste. For example, water for washing clothes, dishes, vehicles, soapy water from after bathing, human waste, unused plastic, plastic bottles or cans, and so on.

b) Industrial waste

Industrial waste is waste that comes from the remains of the production process in an industry. As we know that there are various kinds of industries. Therefore, industrial waste is also very diverse and depends on what industry is being run.

For example, the clothing industry, the waste is in the form of leftover clothing that cannot be used and dyes from clothing that can pollute the environment. The electric cable industry, waste from this industry, such as cables that are no longer used but are still buried in the ground.

c) Agricultural waste

It’s not only the soil ecosystem that is damaged, but the eradication of fertilizers that use pesticides can make the vegetables or fruit produced not good for consumption, especially if pesticides are used excessively.

d) Medical waste

Medical waste is waste or garbage originating from medical facilities and equipment. This medical waste can be found in hospitals, clinics, and puskesmas. This type of waste if left continuously is very dangerous because every medical device used contains body fluids such as blood or other contaminants.

Examples of medical waste, such as expired drugs, leftover chemotherapy, leftover body tissue (autopsy, or surgical processes), used treatment tools, and others.

e) Mining waste

Mining waste is waste originating from mining activities. The polluted environment due to mining waste can be seen from the large amount of metal and mercury that comes from the remnants of the mining process. Examples of mining wastes are arsenic, smoke, sulfuric acid, lead, mercury, mercury, and the like.

f) Tourism waste

Tourism waste is what comes from human activities when traveling or traveling. In general, this waste is in locations that are often visited by people when traveling.

For example, smoke from transportation facilities, leftover food and drinks, and many more. With the existence of tourism waste, it is likely that these tourist attractions will be polluted by the environment.

General Waste Characteristics

In general, waste that is around humans and living things has characteristics, namely its dynamic nature, its micro size, its distribution has long-term impacts or between generations, and its distribution is also very wide.

a) It is dynamic

Waste has dynamic characteristics because the waste itself always moves from one place to another. For example, trash that is dumped in the river will migrate to the sea.

b) Micro size

Micro waste. In this case, the micro size in question is the particles present in the waste itself. In fact, these tiny particles would be very difficult to see without tools such as a microscope. For example, the particles that exist in factory wastes or household wastes.

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c) Long-term impact

The next characteristic of waste is its long-term impact. In solving this waste problem, cooperation between humans and between generations is needed. In addition, solving the waste problem requires quite a long time. For example, household waste.

d) The spread is very wide

Its size is very small, so it can make waste spread easily. In other words, waste easily spreads widely. In fact, waste can spread from one factor to another. For example, factory waste disposal which can cause environmental damage.

Special Waste Characteristics

However, if it is further narrowed or specific, waste can be divided into three characteristics, the first is physical characteristics, the second is chemical characteristics, and the third is biological characteristics.

a) Physical characteristics

The physical characteristics of the waste consist of several parts, namely solids, odor, temperature, color, and turbidity. These characteristics can be felt by the human body. For example, smells that can be smelled by the nose sensory organs, colors that can be seen by our eyes, and so on.

b) Chemical characteristics

The chemical characteristics of the waste consist of organic matter, BOD ( Biological Oxygen Demand ), DO ( Dissolved Oxygen ), COD ( Chemical Oxygen Demand ), pH ( Puisaance d’Hydrogen Scale ), and heavy metals. Basically this characteristic is a measurement of the waste itself. The more often we measure the chemical levels of waste in an environment, the more we will know whether the environment is clean or not.

c) Biological characteristics

Biological characteristics of waste are usually used as a measure of water quality, especially water that is consumed or drunk. The water we drink should be checked regularly so that the water that enters our bodies is clean and healthy water.

How to Overcome Waste 

The more the number of people on earth, the greater the amount of waste produced by humans. This increasing amount of waste can cause human health to suffer.

In other words, the problem of waste must be addressed immediately so that the piles of waste on earth are decreasing or at least increasing significantly. Below we will discuss ways to deal with waste that are easy to do.

1. Reduce (reduce)

The more often we reduce the use of goods that produce waste, the waste will be reduced. Reducing waste will provide good benefits, especially for environmental ecosystems and human health.

How to deal with this waste can be done by reducing the use of single-use plastic when shopping. It would be nice, when shopping, to use plastic that can be used many times or reduce single-use plastic. It is recommended to buy durable items so they are not easily damaged.

2. Reuse

There is nothing wrong, if you reuse items that have been used. By reusing, it is the same if we have overcome and reduced waste. In this case, reuse means extending the use time. For example, drinking bottles that have triangular labels should not be thrown away immediately, but used up to three times beforehand.

By doing this regularly, less waste will be generated from used drink bottles. In addition, when shopping, it is better to use a tote bag that can be used many times so that the use of plastic can be significantly reduced.

3. Recycle (recycle)

By recycling existing wastes, especially inorganic waste. Recycling activities if done properly and correctly will produce an item with a high economic price. Therefore, never hesitate to recycle various kinds of waste.

Recycling activities can be carried out independently or sent to the “waste bank”. The waste bank can be interpreted as a place for managing inorganic waste in the household environment.

Everyone who has collected waste (which has been separated organic and inorganic) and gives it to the waste bank will receive appreciation from the waste bank. Then the waste bank will process these wastes to become goods of high value.

4. Turning organic waste into compost

You want to get fertilizer for free? Making fertilizer for free can use organic materials from the household environment, such as fruit and vegetable peels. With these materials, it can produce compost that can fertilize plants or herbs.

In addition, making compost can also be done using animal waste, such as cows and goats. Even though it looks disgusting, it will produce a free fertilizer that is useful for making plants grow more fertile.

5. Use as little laundry soap as possible

The use of a little washing soap will make water pollution less. This is because there are very few chemicals in soap that dissolve in water. In addition, reducing the use of washing soap also maintains the quality of soil and groundwater. So, have you reduced the use of laundry soap?

6. Classify organic and inorganic waste

Classifying organic and inorganic waste, then we will know the appropriate waste management. For example, organic waste can be managed into compost. Meanwhile, inorganic waste can be managed into goods with high selling value, such as block blocks.


As we already know that humans cannot be separated from the environment. In other words, the needs of human life are very dependent on what is in this environment. A quality living environment will produce quality human health and living things as well.

Therefore, every human being needs to have insight about the environment, especially in waste management. In addition, fellow human beings should help each other, especially in protecting the environment. The environment is maintained, we will all be healthy and happy.