Definition of Inorganic Waste

1- Residual materials devoid of any biological component, commonly products resulting from an industrial process, such as bottles and boxes that serve the purpose of packaging.

2- Organization of domestic waste for recycling purposes, where sub-categories are identified with respect to the materials present in the composition of the objects, denoting very especially the case of batteries, technological material, as well as glass at a rate of safety in handling. It is important to clarify that hospital, industrial or construction waste does not correspond to any of these categories, given the sensitivity of its handling and general exposure.

Etymology: Garbage, by Vulgar Latin *versūraregarding verrere, for ‘clean’, ‘sweep’. + inorganic, by the prefix in-as a negative property, ‘not’, and organic, in Latin organecusin the sense of ‘having life’, with respect to organumon the Greek ὄργανον (organon).

Grammatical category: noun fem.
in syllables: ba-su-ra + i-nor-gá-ni-ca.

Inorganic trash

Candela Rocío Barbisan
Chemical engineer

Inorganic waste is the residue generated by the human being that does not come from living organisms, but rather is the product of human activities of consumption and production. There is a particular phrase that says “Not all waste is garbage, recycling is a resource” and the document focuses on this phrase, since we will see how it is produced and how we can reuse it, since the best garbage is the one that is not generated.

How is it produced?

Inorganic waste is the product of human activities in the transformation processes of raw materials. Globally, 21% of the waste produced is glass, plastic and metal. The rest of the garbage is made up of 44% food, which being organic garbage (mostly) can be a source for compost, while the additional 17% is paper and 18% of various compounds, also inorganic, which They are separated from the previously mentioned ones since they have an extra difficulty in their reuse. Likewise, within this 21% of easily recyclable inorganic waste there are 4% metals, 5% glass material and 12% plastics, the latter can be disposed of correctly to be recycled while 18 % mentioned is waste made up of products that, due to their properties and risks they may cause, cannot be disposed of in common containers, for example, electronic waste which, although it is inorganic waste, must be collected by specialized personnel and adapt the appropriate treatment to its reuse or total abandonment.

In the world, between 7,000 and 10,000 million tons of garbage are produced per year, with an increasing trend in the last century. Faced with this, we have to think about which ecosystems are affected and how to solve this great problem that the population has. Proof of this is the amount of plastic produced, according to BBVA sources in their work for the recycling of plastic bank cards, they assure that they have ended the lives of 100,000 marine animals per year and that every 30 seconds a person dies due to the waste and waste ingestion. Added to the above, studies in the seas over the last few years have detected the presence of micro-plastics in waters for human consumption.

Since 1950, the world population has produced 8,300 million metric tons of plastic and, taking into account that only 9% of it is recycled, the amount of garbage that damages ecosystems is immense, according to data from the University of California, the University of Georgia and the Sea Education Association. However, the plastic that reaches the seas and oceans is degraded by the action of microorganisms under certain conditions and becomes particles invisible to the human eye less than 0.5 cm long, what we know as micro plastics. These particles ingested by marine life cause their death.

Now, where do micro plastics come from? Again, the answer is human activity and consumption. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in 2019 it conducted a study to find out the origin of micro plastics in the oceans and discovered that 35% of them come from synthetic textiles, 28% from tires, 0.3 % of plastic granules, 24% of city dust, 7% of maritime signaling, 3.7% of marine coatings and 2% of personal care products.

How can we reuse it?

Today the term “circular economy” is fashionable and it is the desire of many that it is not a simple fashion but rather energy, synergy and work put into action. The “circular economy” is a strategy that is based on satisfying human consumption and production needs in a sustainable manner over time. In other words, produce and consume responsibly, avoiding cutting production chains, but rather generating a process that feeds back into itself and avoiding continually generating new products from new raw materials without reusing those that are already in the production circuit.

All this process begins with a clear focus, the ecodesign of products, then they are produced and distributed, consumed and then repaired or reused, they are recycled and ecodesigned again to be reprocessed.

Within this circle we have the famous three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle, because as they say: everything together is garbage, but separated it is a resource. If we manage to separate our waste and recycle it, taking it to specialized centers for this purpose, the amount of inorganic waste produced is much less. Bearing in mind, furthermore, that it ceases to be garbage when it is a source of life for another, becoming a resource. For example, many recyclers have their source of income from the sale of these materials for reuse.

It should be noted that, in general, they can be placed in simple containers for inorganic waste, paper, plastic, metal and glass, although this may vary according to the recycling system of each city. While tires must be taken to a center specialized in their treatment, as well as technological waste and polyester garments.