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Waste Classification: Definitions and Types - GreenSutra®

Waste Classification: Definitions and Types

Waste Classification is the first and most important step for Recycling, Reusing and Reducing.

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Almost every activity results in the generation of solid waste. India is one of the largest waste generator in the world. On an average, a single person generates an average of 1 to 2 kgs of solid waste everyday. It is estimated that approximately 135-150 Million MT of solid waste is generated every day in India of which only 20% is treated.

On several surveys and studies, it was found that. it becomes next to impossible to treat solid waste because it is not segregated. It was also found that less than 10% of bulk waste generators segregate waste at source making municipal solid waste management ineffective and/or useless.

With the ever rising waste generation, civic authorities have started implementing Waste Segregation at Source.

Most of the solid waste generated comprises of daily use items that are found easily in every household. The composition of solid waste can be seen as below:

Waste Compostion | Waste Classification | GreenPedia | GreenSutra | India

For this waste to be effectively segregated for proper management, it is very important to start classifying it correctly.

Waste Classification mainly occurs on the basis of their biological, chemical and physical properties and also on the basis of nature. For the purposes of segregation at source, waste is classified in to the following categories:

  • Dry Waste – Refers to all items that are not considered wet/soiled items. This includes both recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Dry waste includes items such as bottles, cans, clothing, plastic, wood, glass, metals and paper.
  • Wet Waste – Refers to all items that are organic like food items, soiled food wrappers, hygiene products, yard waste, tissues and paper towels, as well as any other soiled item that would contaminate the recyclables.
  • Sanitary Waste – Refers to all liquid or solid waste originating solely from humans and human activities. (Can also include items from medical waste)
  • Hazardous Household Waste – Refers to all household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients, other than used oil.
  • E-Waste – Refers to all kinds of electronic waste.

Waste Classification of Common Household Items

The below table lists most common household items and their classification.

Waste ItemWaste Category
Vegetable PeelsWet Waste
Fruit PeelsWet Waste
Rotten VegetablesWet Waste
Rotten FruitsWet Waste
Left over foodWet Waste
Mango SeedsWet Waste
Used Tea BagsWet Waste
Used Coffee Powder from FilterWet Waste
Egg ShellsWet Waste
Rotten EggsWet Waste
Coconut ShellsWet Waste
Tender Coconut ShellsWet Waste
Used Leaves & Flowers
from Puja
Wet Waste
Spoiled SpicesWet Waste
Floor Sweeping DustWet Waste
Meat & Non-Veg Food RemainsWet Waste
BonesWet Waste
Mop StickDry Waste
Used Mop ClothDry Waste
Toilet Cleaning BrushDry Waste
Brush & Scrubs used for CleaningDry Waste
Used & Dirty Floor MatsDry Waste
Bottles & Container of PesticidesDry Waste
Mosquito Repellent Refill BottlesHazardous Household Waste
Mosquito Repellent MatsHazardous Household Waste
Used OdonilHazardous Household Waste
Used Sanitary PadsSanitary Waste
Used Sanitary ClothsSanitary Waste
Used CondomsSanitary Waste
Used Syringes'Sanitary Waste
Used Cotton & BandageSanitary Waste
Used Tooth BrushDry Waste
Soap CoversDry Waste
Chocolate WrappersDry Waste
Butter Paper (Wrapping for Butter)Dry Waste
Milk CoversDry Waste
Ghee/Oil PacketsDry Waste
Batter PacketsDry Waste
Oil CansDry Waste
Food PackagingsWet Waste
Expired Food PackagesDry Waste
Expired MedicinesHazardous Household Waste
Tablets CoversHazardous Household Waste
Medicine Syrup BottleHazardous Household Waste
Injection BottlesHazardous Household Waste
Other Medicinal DiscardsHazardous Household Waste
Finger or Toe NailsWet Waste
Any piece of cloth, paper
stained with blood or
any other medical or
sanitary waste
Sanitary Waste
NewspaperDry Waste
Used Paper PiecesDry Waste
Old PostsDry Waste
Broken Stationary
(Pen, Pencil,Eraser)
Dry Waste
Used RazorDry Waste
Used Razor BladesDry Waste
Empty Shampoo
Dry Waste
Empty Perfume
Dry Waste
HairWet Waste
Left Over Pet
Wet Waste
ThermocolDry Waste
CFL, Tube LightHazardous Household Waste
Printer CartridgesE-Waste
Broken Watch ElectronicsE-Waste
Hazardous Household Waste
DiapersSanitary Waste
Empty Bottles of
Floor & Toilet
Hazardous Household Waste
Button CellsE-Waste
Broken GlassDry Waste
Broken Household
Plastic Items
Dry Waste
Aluminium CansDry Waste
Used Pieces of
Aluminium Foils
Dry Waste
Old BroomsDry Waste
Garden LeavesWet Waste
WeedsWet Waste
Dried FlowersWet Waste
Tissue PaperDry Waste
Tissue Paper
(used for Medical or Sanitary Purposes)
Sanitary Waste
Used Cooking OilHazardous Household Waste
Thermocol Balls
from Bean Bags
Dry Waste
Small Broken ToysDry Waste
Bottles or Cans of Mosquito SpraysHazardous Household Waste
Used bottles, tubes, cans of shaving creamDry Waste
FlouroscentsHazardous Household Waste
Button CellsHazardous Household Waste
Old PaintsHazardous Household Waste
Used OilsWet Waste
LeatherDry Waste
RexineDry Waste
FurnitureDry Waste
Bottles or Cans of Insecticide SpraysHazardous Household Waste
Bottles or Cans of Room FreshnersHazardous Household Waste
Used bottles, tubes, cans of DeodrantDry Waste
Used bottles, tubes, cans of Creams, etcDry Waste
Broken/Damaged Computer PeripheralsE-Waste
Broken/Damaged RadiosE-Waste
Waste Classification: Definitions and Types
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Waste Classification: Definitions and Types
Waste Classification is the most important step towards proper waste management and recycling processes. Learn about all the different types of waste here.
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