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The term waste has a different meaning for different people. In general, waste is unwanted for the person who discards it; a product or material that does not have a value anymore for the first user and is therefore thrown away. The United States Environmental protection Agency defined a solid waste as any uselss, unwanted or discarded material with insufficient liquid content, EPA (1975). Because of its sticky nature, a solid Waste has the quality of accumulating, and physically insulting the environment. Omuta (1988), defined a solid as plastic, rubber, paper, glass, etc arising from domestic, trade, commercial, agricultural and industrial activities. Moreso, solid matter that are created by human or animal activities and which are disposed because they are considered useless are known as solid wastes. Most of the solid wastes like plastic, robber, etc. are non. Biodegradable which means that they do not get broken down through organic processes thus, when they accumulate, they pose a health threat to the people. According to Eze (1995), a solid waste means any refuse, gabbage and other discarded materials resulting from community, agricultural and industrial operations.


Solid wastes management practices can be divided into two namely:

1.  The management of the wastes in the areas  where they are generated.

2.  The management of the wastes at dumping grounds.

Solid wastes management practices include the issues that are related to wastes generation, storage, collection and removal from collection points. Moreso, solid wastes management practice is an issue that cuts across every sector of the economy. It is an aspect that has been generating concern in the Chemical Industry which has become a challenge to the Chemical Engineers. Advocates of Environmental protection Agency have drawn the attention of the national policy –maker to the health hazards and potential dangers to natural resources caused by the inadequate management of wastes, Anard (1999). There  is a wide variation in both the physical and chemical nature of wastes generated as one goes from one household to another or one industry to another.

Furthermore, waste management is a serious environmental problem that has been the subject of several studies, conferences, strategic meetings and debates. According to Tanaka (1998), the purpose of waste management is to preserve the living environment and improve public health through the restriction of wastes discharge, appropriate sorting, storage, collection, transport, recycling, etc. of wastes and conservation of clean living environment. Thus, wastes management practices are expected to contribute significantly to the conservation of the living environment and maintenance of a high standard of public hygiene.


The methods vary widely among different countries and regions. These includes:

1.          CURBSIDE COLLECTION: In this method, every urban domestic household is provided  with three bins. One for recyclables, another for general wastes and the third for garden materials. These bins may be provided by the government if requested or individuals.

2.          ENVAC COLLECTION: This is the convey of refuse via under ground conduits using a vacuum system.

Moreso, domestic wastes collection services are often provided by local government authorities or by private companies.


The issue of waste disposal has become one of the most crucial matters confronting the society. Public concern on this issue continued to be expressed daily through the medial such as news paper, magazine, radio and television, Anon (1995). The scientist has spent much time to analyze various stages of waste control systems which are applicable to today’s waste generation and disposal means. The indiscriminate dumping of refuse by many or individual on unapproved or unauthorized areas such as the ground, street corners constitute a big problem to the society. This refuse emits bad odour that is harzardous to man’s health. Moreso, the disposal of waste is a problem. This problem continues to grow with the growth of population and development of industries. Disposal of wastes in open pits have become routine in majority of places some of the methods of disposal systems include incineration, recycling, sustainability, biological reprocessing, energy recovery and avoidance & reduction method.

Furthermore, the problem of solid waste disposal is as a result of increasing urbanization coupled with colonial policy on urban planning. It was observed that before our contact with the Europeans that each household was responsible for keeping its immediate environment clean. Today, traditional dumps have disappeared and the open space converted to housing. However, alternate arrangement has been made for proper solid waste disposal which includes composting, land filling, incinerations and recycling.


1.     WASTE HIERARCHY: The waste management hierarchy refers to “3Rs which means, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. This classifies waste management in terms of waste minimization. The waste hierarchy remains the cornerstone of most waste minimization strategies. The aim is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of wastes. The hierarchy diagram is shown below.      

2.    POLLUTER PAYS PRINCIPLE: This is a principle where the polluting party pays for the impact caused to the environment. Also, a waste generator pays for the disposal of the wastes.

3.     TALORIES DECLARATION PRINCIPLE: This is a declaration for sustainability concerned with unprecedented scale and speed of environment pollution, degradation and depletion of natural resources.Recycling is also now accepted as a suitable option on the waste management hierarchy namely; source reduiction, reuse/recycling, composting, incineration and land filling (Agarwal, Singhmar, Kulshrestha, and Mittal, 2005; Bolaane 2006) (see Figure 1.0). 

            Figure: 1.1: Hierarchy of Integrated Solid Waste Management.

Source: Richard, Wolfville and Nova (2002).

This is because it does not only provide an avenue for the identification, recovery and exploitation of waste as a resource (Sicular, 1992; The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, 2007) but also for its potential contribution towards environmental management and livelihoods (Masocha, 2006; Langenhoven and Dyssel, 2007). Waste recycling in developing countries is being driven by the informal sector, often with minimal, if any, input from institutions of the state (Castells and Portes, 1989; Ahmed and Ali, 2004; Wilson, Velis and Cheeseman, 2006). At the same time, the informal sector is becoming increasingly integrated into the social, cultural and economic systems of most developing countries. Consequently, solid waste management (SWM) and recycling by the informal sector, unarguably of contemporary phenomena, which have contributed to socioeconomic development in low-and middle- income countries (Berthier, 2003; Wilson et. al., 2006; Gonzenbach and Coad, 2007; Medina, 2007; Gutberlet, 2008).

An important component of ISWM is to encourage producers to produce environmentally friendly goods and to produce less waste in the production cycle. It also mandates producers to take more responsibility for the waste they produce (Ukoje, 2011). In general, source reduction (most preferred) is the most difficult stage to achieve in ISWM hierarchy, but the stage together with recycling/reuse is the conceptualized application to resource and environmental management.

The next favorable option is waste recycling and reuse; waste recycling is a process that involves collecting, reprocessing, and/or recovering certain waste materials (e.g. glass, metal, plastics, paper etc.) to make new materials or products.  Waste reuse and recycling are often undertaken as a survival strategy by scavengers and recycling businesses (Cointreau and De kadt, 1991) thereby reducing the total amount of solid waste headed for the landfill. Waste reuse plays a valuable resource-conserving role: by recycling materials, further exploitation of scarce natural resources is minimized, thus containing the spreading ecological footprints of the city.

In addition, composting as an option is a controlled natural process of decomposition of organic waste materials. It reduces the cost of waste disposal, minimize nuisance potential and produce a clean and readily marketable finished product. Composting helps in increasing the recovery rate of recyclable materials. Furthermore, reuse, recycling and composting are land- saving and pollution- reducing strategies.

Next is incineration, which is another method of disposal and it involves passing the waste through a chamber at high temperature with an adequate supply of oxygen to oxidize all organic material. Its advantage is that it requires less land than landfills. Incineration disposes

99.999% of organic waste if properly carried out at 1200°C temperature and ambient oxygen. Combustion in an incinerator reduces volume by 90% and weight by 75% and ash uses about a third as much landfill space as solid waste itself does (Hill, 2004).

Energy recovered from the process can be utilized for electricity generation. Although incineration appears to be an extremely attractive option, the high financial start-up and operational capital required to implement incineration facilities is a major barrier to successful adoption in developing countries (United Nations Environmental Programme, 1996). A large portion of that cost goes to the environmental hazard mitigation components, including emissions (Rand, Haukohl and Marxen, 2000). 

Additionally, specific technical expertise and related general repair and maintenance technology are often absent in developing nations‘ scenario. Incineration in Africa would be infeasible if the waste stream is indeed 70% wet organic content. Under these conditions, incineration is likely to be energy consuming rather than an energy-producing option. There is environmental-health problems associated with incineration. When conditions are not optimal, incineration volatilizes many compounds, such as dioxins, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxides, which are potentially harmful to human health, atmosphere, plants, and animals (Manyanhaire et al, 2009).

Lastly in the hierarchy is land disposal (landfill), which involves haulage of garbage in open areas. Such areas range from unsanitary open dumps to properly operated sanitary landfills (Ukoje, 2011).

In the past few years, research on SWM in Nigeria has focused essentially on contextualizing waste recycling as an approach to urban environmental management and livelihoods (Adeyemi, Olorunfemi and Adewoye, 2001; Agunwamba, 2003; Nzeadibe and Eziuzor, 2006; Nzeadibe and Iwuoha, 2008). Unfortunately, SWM appear to have received little attention from Nigerian social scientists especially from the viewpoint of the socially-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (Nzeadibe, 2009). Environmental concerns and sustainable development are germane to MDGs, which make an investigation into how wealth generated from waste helps in sustainable environmental management an appropriate subject of inquiry.  


In the pursuit of sustainable waste management, the prevention of waste generation is the first priority, followed by waste recovery and safe disposal of waste on the hierarchy of principles for waste management (Figure 1.1). These principles need to be put in practice through joint waste prevention and management measures if growing environmental degradation is to be avoided. For example, the use of valuable land for waste disposal, the release of harmful substances from landfills and waste transports into air, soil and water, and the use of resources that are transformed into disposed waste instead of being reused or recycled will all have negative impacts on the environment, and will have a long-lasting direct and indirect influences on the quality of life (European Urban Waste Management Cluster (EUWMC), 2005).

It is known that there have been some local methods by which solid wastes were been reused or recycled. The knowledge of waste reuse and recycling might not be totally new in the Nigerian context. Rather, it is the current sophistication involved that is rather new. Waste facilities in developing countries are minimal, but substantial quantities are diverted for recycling (Tajuddeen, 2003). So there was this reuse culture that has been planted in to Nigerians subconsciously. Every item used were structured for reuse. Even today, the sachets of ―pure water‖ are used by horticulturists for flower nursery and paper wrappers are reused. The reuse tradition is what makes old newspapers useful for wrapping roasted groundnut ( Arachis hypogea Linn) and pop corn (guguru) or akara, the popular fried beans cake. Apart from the fact that the reuse culture saves lots of money, it is highly conservative resulting in waste management (Ajibade, 2005).

In spite of the enormous benefits associated with sustainable waste management strategies such as re-use and recycling, only a handful of countries are able to put them into practice. For instance, most of the economically developed countries are still unable to recycle much of their waste (Anthony, 2009). Besides, growing land scarcity and stricter environmental standards now make it difficult for many rich cities to find adequate and suitable disposal sites for the large volumes of waste being generated by their urban populations (Pacione, 2005; Charzan, 2002). 

Hardoy, et. al., (2001) researched on environmental problems in an urbanizing world and estimates that between one third and one half of all solid waste generated in Third World cities remains uncollected and the collection rate could be as low as 10 – 20 percent in some cases. Depicting a similar picture of the problem, Cointreau (2001), has estimated that in some cases, up to 60 percent of solid waste generated within urban centres in poor countries remains uncollected and such refuse accumulates on waste lands and streets, sometimes to the point of blocking roads. Moreover, uncontrolled solid waste disposal can also cause environmental problems like traffic congestion on the streets and roads, municipal floods when dumped on waterways, etc. (Lawal, 2011).

The foregoing review demonstrates that waste to wealth has multiple socioeconomic and environmental benefits yet it has not been systematically examined in Zaria. The dearth of such work is an important research gap needed to be urgently filled.

1.3    Research Questions

The research questions posed are as follows: 

i.                    What are the sources and destinations of recyclable Municipal Solid Waste, in Zaria metropolis?

ii.                  What is the quantity of waste materials (metal scraps, plastics and cans) disposed and recycled in the study area?

iii.                What type of uses are the recyclable materials put into? 

iv.                What are the socioeconomic benefits of waste management and disposal systems to waste management entrepreneurs (WMEs) in the study area?


The aim of the study is to evaluate solid waste management and disposal systems to create wealth and promote a sustainable environment.  The specific objectives are to:

i.examine the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of waste management entrepreneurs (WMEs) in the study area 

ii.identify the sources and destinations of recyclable Municipal Solid Waste, in Zaria metropolis; iii.analyse the quantity of waste materials (metal scraps, plastics and cans) recovered, reused, transported for recycling.

iv.                identify the type of uses recyclable materials are put into in the study area.

v.                  examine the socioeconomic benefits of waste management to waste management entrepreneurs (WMEs) in the study area.


There are several reasons for continuous research on waste problem at local, national and global levels. Firstly, the earth‘s natural resources are fast dwindling, hence the need to conserve the resources. Reuse and recycle are some of the conservation means for sustainable natural resource management, including municipal solid waste. This is the environmental justification for this study. Also, this study will provide evidence on the volume of wealth/job created from managing municipal solid waste (MSW) that can be used for future development planning in the area of employment generation. Evidence from other countries such as Germany, Australia and the US demonstrate how significant job creation at the local level has been achieved through high recycling rates, thus supporting new business formation (Mayor of London, 2003).

In terms of contribution to knowledge on solid waste and urban environmental management, findings of the study will form a base knowledge for researchers interested in that area. It is hoped that this work will contribute to finding a sustainable way of handling scrap metal, can and plastic waste menace in Zaria with adaptive implications for the whole country and beyond.      


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential for solid waste re-use and recycling as a management strategy to create wealth and promote a sustainable waste management. The spatial scope of this work are localities in Zaria which include; Samaru, Palladan, Basawa, Gyllesu, Muchia, Chikaji, Wusasa, Dogarawa, Sabon-Gari, Tudun Wada, Gaskiya and Zaria city. The areas were chosen based on the prominence of collection points. By indication, Zaria as used in this study comprises Zaria and Sabon-Gari Local Government Areas (LGAs), with four (4) districts namely; Zaria city district, Tudun Wada district, Sabon-Gari district and Samaru district.  

This study will therefore examine recovery, reuse and recycling of MSW. The focus will be limited to scrap metal, plastic bottles and cans; since they are the items that are majorly recovered by the entrepreneurs. The temporal scope for the field work was limited to one month (i.e. from second week of November to first week of December 2012).

1.7    Organization of study

This research work is divided into five chapters.

Chapter one contains introduction to the research work which summarizes background to the study. In this chapter, statement of the problem, objective of the study, significance of the study, research hypothesis, research questions, scope of the study, and organization of the study are discussed extensively.

         Chapter two of this research work is known as the review of related literature otherwise known as the literature review and the theoretical frame work, which reviews previous research work in the field of study and analysis of various principles relating to the research topic.

Chapter three is concerned with the research methodology. This discusses research design, the population size to be studied, sample size determination, sampling techniques applied , method of data analysis and interpretation, the statistical tools used in the analyzing the formulated hypothesis .

Chapter four of this research work is the data presentation, analysis and interpretation.

Chapter five summarizes the whole research project stating the findings useful conclusion and the recommendation and this constitute the concluding part of the research work.

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