Studies identify household hazardous waste, recommend methods to cull their generation

Waseem Al-Tamimi, a student in the Environmental and Water Sciences Master’s Program, and Aida Al-Batnij, a student in the Environmental and Water Engineering Master’s Program, had two of their papers published as chapters in the “Handbook of Environmental Materials Management.” The papers, written for classes in their master’s programs, were supervised and co-authored by Dr. Issam A. Al-Khatib.

In “Household Hazardous Waste Quantification, Characterization, and Management in Developing Countries’ Cities: A Case Study,” Al-Tamimi and Al-Khatib aimed to ascertain the state of household hazardous waste management in Hebron and investigated the level of awareness of the risks associated with it.

The researchers analyzed the total generated solid waste during a 14-day period to determine the presence and proportion of household hazardous waste and concluded that home products make up about 42.3 percent of all hazardous waste generated by households, followed by automotive products (17.2 percent), personal care products (15.4 percent), and healthcare products (12.3 percent).

The researchers established that there are great risks associated with household hazardous waste - namely injuries, poisoning, burns, and accidents.

Al-Batnij and Al-Khatib conducted an extended research survey in Hebron on industrial solid waste management and published their results in the chapter “Industrial Solid Waste Management in a Developing Country Governorate and the Opportunities for the Application of Cleaner Production Principles.”

The researchers identified the solid waste management practices being followed both at the municipal level and the industrial level. They also recorded the generated amounts of industrial solid waste as part of the research.

The authors conclude that an incentive system needs to be developed so that industry members reduce the solid waste they generate and increase their recycling efforts. This recommendation is further backed up by the research data: only 21 factories, out of 91, treat solid waste before disposal.  A large percentage - 85.7 - do not separate the generated solid waste into specific components.  Only 13.6 percent of factories reuse industrial solid waste, and only 16.5 percent recycle solid waste.

Al-Khatib cooperated with Nicolas Moussiopoulos, director of the Laboratory of Heat Transfer and Environmental Engineering in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, on analyzing the hazardous waste generated in Greece.

In the chapter “Investigation of the Chemical Content of Two Specific Streams in Municipal Waste: The Case of Hazardous Household Waste and Dental Waste,” Al-Khatib and Moussiopoulos determined the uncertainty level of the fractions, composition, and health/environmental impacts and the solid waste’s impact due to the status of health and safety conditions within the management facilities in Greece.

The researchers concluded that 4 percent of the hazardous household waste – itself 10 percent of the total municipal solid waste – involved toxic risk, and 7.16 percent involved combination risks for human working in treatment facilities. Of the dental waste generated, 8.82 percent involved toxic risk and 11.76 percent involved combination risks for humans.