Waste Management HS-ESS 3-2

Graduation Requirements
Science Earth and Space Physical
Equipment/Materials Needed
No special equipment or materials aare required

Waste means any garbage, refuse, abandon material that can't be or isn't recyclable

Badge Completion Requirements

Solid Waste

RCRA states that "solid waste" means any garbage or refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded material, resulting from industrial, commercial, mining, and agricultural operations, and from community activities. Nearly everything we do leaves behind some kind of waste.

It is important to note that the definition of solid waste is not limited to wastes that are physically solid. Many solid wastes are liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material.

Solid waste can be classified in several ways but the following list represents a typical classification:

  • Biodegradable waste: food and kitchen waste, green waste, paper (most can be recycled although some difficult to compost plant material may be excluded)
  • Recyclable materials; paper, cardboard, glass, jars, tin cans, aluminum, metal, plastics tires,  batteries,etc..
  • Inert waste: construction and demolition waste, dirt, rock, and debris
  • Electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) - electrical appliances, light bulbs, washing machines, TVs, computers, mobile phones, and watches.
  • Composite wastes: waste clothing, Tetra Packs, waste plastics such as toys
  • Hazardous waste including most paints, chemicals, tires, batteries, light bulbs, electrical appliances, fluorescent lamps, aerosol spray cans, and fertilizers
  • Toxic waste including pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides
  • Biomedical waste, expired pharmaceutical drugs, etc


Explain hazardous waste 

Discuss the process of production and capture of methane is a solid waste landfill

Discuss the process of locating a solid waste landfill

Summarize the meaning of reducing the waste stream 

Explain how much solid waste an American produces daily

Plan a trip to visit a nearby landfill

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of solid waste management. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation


Water Pollution

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies, usually as a result of human activities. Water bodies include for example lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers, and groundwater. ... For example, releasing inadequately treated wastewater into natural water bodies can lead to the degradation of aquatic ecosystems.

Here are the few major causes of water pollution: Sewage And Waste Water: Sewage, garbage and liquid waste of households, agricultural lands and factories are discharged into lakes and rivers. These wastes contain harmful chemicals and toxins which make the water poisonous for aquatic animals and plants.

Ways to decrease water pollution:

1. Keep out oils, fat, or grease from the sink. Desist from pouring cooking oil, fat or grease down the kitchen sink. Instead, keep a jar that collects all the fats, grease or oil then discard in solid waste.

2. Abstain from flushing contaminated liquids, pills, drugs, or medications down the drain. These substances contain scores of toxic materials that destroy the quality of natural water systems. Instead, use the recommended disposal methods.

3. Desist from using the toilet as a bin. Most people discard dust clothes, paper wastes, synthetic materials, and wrappers in the toilet. The destructive elements of these materials may finally end up in the oceans, lakes or rivers. Desisting from this habit can considerably prevent water pollution.

4. Ensure minimal use of bleach or detergents. During the cleaning of laundry or cutleries, it is vital to minimize the use of bleach and detergents. Instead, you can persist on only using phosphate-free detergents and soaps.

5. Reduce the use of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Excessive use of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers leads to water pollution as the chemicals contained in the products often find a way into the water systems through surface runoff or infiltration into the soil. Minimizing their usage or using organic methods for pest, weed, and disease control can appreciably reduce water pollution.

6. Proper sewage treatment and management. Proper sewage treatment is required to limit the number of toxic substances that normally end up in water systems such as lakes, rivers, and oceans. Also, individual homes that use septic tanks or cellar drains need to ensure proper management of their home sewage to avoid pollution.

7. Dispose of trash properly. When the trash is not disposed of properly some of the non-degradable products such as diapers and sanitary towels may end up destroying the process of sewage treatment, especially when they are flushed down the toilet. At times, poor disposal of solid non-degradable materials such as plastics normally ends up littering the beaches and river banks.

8. Avoid direct dumping into water systems. By all means possible, we should desist from disposing of rubbish or any other waste products into lakes, rivers, streams or oceans. Still, you can do the best to clean your local water body whenever you notice rubbish littering the beaches or banks.

9. Always conserve water. Play an active role in reducing water pollution by conserving water at all time. You can achieve this by ensuring the taps are always turned off when they are not in use. Conserving water reduces the amount of contaminated water that needs to be treated.

10. Insist on using environmentally safe products. Whenever you purchase household products such as cleaning material, medical supplies, paints, insect/ant repellants, or chemical substances; always persist in obtaining and using products that are less harmful to the environment.

11. Practice tree planting. Planting trees reduce the speed of surface water runoff and as such, lessens erosion and prevents toxic substances and chemicals from washing into water systems. If you live next to a water body, please take this initiative today and plant trees and vegetation cover such as flowers, grass, and shrubs.

12. Re-use automobile oil as much as possible and keep your vehicle well maintained. Re-using automobile oil reduces the amount of used oil that is discarded which may end up polluting water bodies. Also, it is essential to keep your vehicle well maintained so as to prevent the leakage of deadly fluids like oil and antifreeze.

13. Support green-oriented companies. These are the companies that take creative initiatives to reduce water pollution. For instance, some green cleaning product companies make the packaging materials by using recycling plastics collected from the oceans. Also, some sewage treatment firms now clean wastewater without the use of chemicals. Supporting and using the services of such companies can greatly help reduce water pollution.

14. Use super energy saving washing machines. When purchasing washing machines, ensure you buy energy star approved washing equipment which can save energy and up to 60 liters of water. Eventually, it reduces the amount of wastewater that needs treatment.

15. De-clog your drains naturally. The typical drain cleaners contain several noxious chemicals such as sodium hydroxide. You can instead use natural methods such as pouring equal portions of white vinegar, boiling water and baking soda and let it stay in the drain for 30 minutes before rinsing.

16. Always opt for recyclable and reusable options. Reusable and recycled materials avoid the unnecessary use of water. By using these options, it, therefore, means you are conserving water. At the same time, you are minimizing the amount of wastewater produced during production and processing. This should also include re-using dishware and linens such as towels and bedsheets.

17. Skip the use of plastics. Plastic leftovers such as used plastic water bottles, disposable plastic plates, and plastic bags frequently end up in the oceans, lakes, streams, and rivers, contaminating natural habitats and destroying aquatic life.

18. Dispose motor oil, batteries or antifreeze at specially assigned collection points. Ensure each and every time you want to dispose of used engine oil, batteries or antifreeze you do so at designated collection points to avoid the unnecessary contamination of ecosystems which may end up polluting surface and ground waters.

19. Keep your boat well maintained if you have one or in charge of any. Ensure your boat is in good condition at all times to avoid toxic substances from leaking into the water.

20. Only wash when you have a full load. By washing only when you have full loads of laundry and dishware, you can save tons of water while also reducing the amount of contaminated water that has to be treated.

21. Pick up pet waste. Pet waste might contain harmful bacteria which can flow into storm drains and contaminate water systems.

22. Practice organic farming. Organically grown crops reduce the number of herbicides and pesticides used in farming. It also promotes the use of organic fertilizer which promotes natural growth and eliminates the use of toxic chemicals found in synthetic fertilizers, which can penetrate into the ground and pollute water supplies.

23. Contact the local water protection and conservation authority whenever you notice any pollution activities. Take the initiative of promptly contacting the relevant local water conservation office when you notice any kind of pollutant or chemical being discharged or injected into water bodies.

24. Install water-efficient household appliances. In our homes, we have several appliances used for cleaning and sanitary purposes such as dishwashers, washing machines, toilets, and showerheads. When we persist on installing these types of appliances that are water-efficient, we end up saving millions of liters of water which would have been contaminated. Next time you want to install any of these products, first, look at their water efficiency rating.

25. Take action by actively participating in water pollution prevention. You can make monetary contributions or donations to water conservation agencies. Also, you can actively sensitize your peers and community on how to prevent water pollution and how they can ensure water conservation.


Review the "Ways to decrease water pollution:" and adopt one of the suggestions to create a public awareness campaign.

     Develop a poster

     Develop a 20 sec public service announcement

     Develop a 30 sec video for Facebook


Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of water pollution. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation

Air Pollution

Air pollution is the introduction into the air of a substance which has harmful or poisonous effects. Air pollution occurs when gases, dust particles, fumes (or smoke) or odors are introduced into the atmosphere in a way that makes it harmful to humans, animals, and plant. This is because the air becomes dirty (contaminated or unclean).

The EPA  (Environmental Protection Agency) has identified six major types of air pollutants deemed especially harmful to human health. These are carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulate matter, and lead. Since the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the identification of these pollutants, air pollution has decreased markedly.

The EPA identified six major types of air pollutants deemed especially harmful to human health. These are carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulate matter, and lead. Since the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the identification of these pollutants, air pollution has decreased markedly.

The burning of fossil fuels. Sulfur dioxide emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and other factory combustibles is one the major cause of air pollution. Pollution emitting from vehicles including trucks, jeeps, cars, trains, airplanes cause an immense amount of pollution.

The Air Quality Index is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. 



Explain how burning fossil fuels reduces air quality

Many aerosol cans contain CFC's. Discuss how the CFC's affect air quality

Summarize the Air Quality Index 

What is the Air Quality Index for Wichita Kansas today

Identify the single largest contributor to air pollution 

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of air pollution. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation