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Waste Industries

There are many different ways to properly handle various types of waste and there are separate industries that handle specific aspects of each one.

Recycling, Reuse, and Salvage

Many wastes often have parts that are still valuable and can be used again or processed into a new resource: Auto Salvage, E-waste, Mobile Home Salvage, Compost, or Land Application of Biosolids and Septage. Auto, electronic waste, and mobile home salvage include recovering parts for reuse. Grass, tree branches and other organic materials are composted in windrows to make a product. Biosolids and septage are land applied for nutrient values and soil amendments.


Some types of waste can be used as a source of energy: Incinerator, Biomass Digester and Gasification, or Alternate Fuel. In these facilities, waste is burned or processed for their fuel heat values or to produce steam or synthetic gas that can be used as energy. Please note Indiana Statute IC 13-11-2-82 considers incinerator as a final disposal facility for certain purposes.


If a waste is stripped of all its reasonable worth, then anything left over must be disposed. This is accomplished through burial in landfills. Even the best recyclers will have impurities and/or contaminants that cannot be processed and need to be disposed. And although incinerators burn their waste, there is still ash remaining that is no longer valuable as a fuel, so it is buried in landfills as well.

Transport, Transfer, and Collection Container Systems

Waste must be picked up and moved along the processing path. Waste tires are collected and transported to processing facilities. Septage may be transported to and discharged directly into a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), permitted Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW), or a storage/treatment facility for domestic septage and “restaurant” grease (animal/vegetable only). Municipalities or local governments may use a Collection Container System such as a county-wide collection box system to collect small quantities of municipal solid waste from the general public before transporting to a transfer station or a landfill. A hazardous waste transfer facility is a transportation-related facility, such as loading docks, parking areas, storage areas, and other similar areas where shipments are temporarily held. A solid waste hauler transports solid waste to a permitted solid waste processing facility, such as a transfer station or a final disposal facility.

Storage, Processing, and Treatment

Some facilities store waste to accumulate adequate quantity for transportation. Storage facilities temporarily hold waste before treatment or disposal. Use of various processes such as blending, neutralization, incineration and making the waste less hazardous/toxic or alter its physical, chemical or biological character or composition. Wastes are treated to make them more suitable for transportation to offsite for further treatment, recovery and reuse, or landfilling. Some facilities process waste in the same storage units before sending it offsite for appropriate management.

These facilities need a permit or approval from IDEM to construct and operate, unless specifically exempted by a rule or statute.

Waste Industry Topics