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Chapter 16 – Garbage in and Garbage Out

The following Topics and Sub-Topics are covered in this chapter and are available on MSVgo:


We use and consume many things in our daily life – food, toiletry, stationery, electrical/electronic items, etc. It’s not just homes but also the offices, shops, factories, vehicles, etc., that utilize huge amounts of goods daily. Can we allow these to be turned into garbage, or should we try to break this cycle of garbage in and garbage out?

Let us first understand with an example what can happen if you are not adequately dealing with the garbage or recycle it? A plastic water bottle. Many of us throw it away after use, whereas it should ideally go to a recycling facility. It is cleaned, shredded, and melted into small pellets that are then melted again and molded into useful items such as toys, household items, electronic gadgets, etc. 

What if the bottle, along with other garbage, is buried in a landfill? The plastic in the water bottle breaks down after some time into harmful chemicals. These chemicals contaminate soil and underground water, which can cause cancer and liver damage. If not disposed of properly, large amounts of such wastes pose a significant danger to air, water, and the environment. Therefore, plastic is a boon or curse that depends on how we use and recycle it.

So, it is important that we think before we throw anything. Waste should either be reused or should be recycled at proper centers.

There are different types of garbage and wastes that require different treatment. Let’s understand the types and the ways to dispose of the waste.

This is also known as domestic or residential waste. This is the waste generated in our homes due to our daily activities such as cooking, use of packaged items, toiletries, paper, electronics, etc.

  1. Recyclable waste
    a. Plastic waste:

    1. It includes bags, jars, bottles, etc.
    2. Plastic waste has proved to be a bigger curse than a boon for our environment.

    b. Paper waste:

    1. It includes old newspapers, packaging material, cardboard, etc.
    2. This waste needs to be stored separately and sent to recycling centers. You can try paper recycling at your home too. Pulp made from old newspapers, paper bags, and other paper wastes can be converted into handmade paper, toys, containers, etc. This is known as papier mache art.
  2. Organic waste
    a. Food waste:

    1. It includes all the waste generated in the kitchen like vegetable and fruit peels, food gone bad, tea leaves waste, etc.

    b. Green or garden waste:

    1. In includes leaves, dead flowers, etc.,
    2. This waste is collected and used in composting.
  3. Hazardous waste
    a. It includes batteries, bulbs, pesticides, insecticides, medical waste, etc.
    b. These can be handed over at appropriate collection points for proper disposal.
  4. E-waste
    a. It includes electrical appliances, old computer parts, mobile phones, etc.
    b. These can be sold, donated, or given to e-waste collectors.

Industrial activities involve manufacturing from various raw materials and consumables such as fuel, chemicals, etc. Not all the raw materials and consumables are fully utilized. The leftovers are a waste that is categorized as: 

  1. Chemical Waste:
    a. It is generated by factories, textile processing centers, warehouses, etc.
  2. Solid Waste:
    a. It includes paper, cardboard, plastic, packaging material, wood, scrap metal, etc.

Solid waste, also known as trash or garbage, consists of everyday items discarded by the public, institutions and generated by civil activities.

  1. Institutional waste:
    Municipal corporations handle waste generated by institutional centers like schools, colleges, offices, prisons, markets, etc. These solid wastes include paper, plastic, food, wood, metal, cardboard. Activities like cleaning streets, sewerage, maintenance of parks, and water treatment plants also generate solid waste.
  2. Construction & Demolition waste:
    It includes debris of leftover construction material like bricks, cement, dust, etc.
  1. Medical waste:
    It includes wastes contaminated by blood, body fluids, and other infectious and hazardous wastes.

The basic approach to waste management is to reduce, reuse and recycle. You can look around in your house, school, society and start categorizing things that should be reused and recycled to reduce waste generation. Let’s look at this approach in detail.

  • Minimizing Waste:

Waste reduction can be done in the following ways:

  • Reduce the amount of plastic in packaging by using cotton bags,
  • Eat homemade food, and to avoid using single-use bags in packaging,
  • Try composting from organic waste. Vermicomposting is getting quite popular for converting organic waste to manure with the use of earthworms.


  • Recovery & Recycling:

It involves recovering or extracting useful materials from the waste. Waste items such as aluminum cans, paper, cardboard, plastic bags, bottles are all recoverable. These are recycled to produce new products. 

Some interesting facts about recycling:

  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 117 trees and 7000 gallons of water.
  • Recycling 1 glass bottle saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours.
  • Recycling 1 ton of plastic wastes is equivalent to saving 1000-2000 gallons of petrol.
  • New aluminum cans made from used cans utilizes 95% less energy.


  • Incineration (Burning)

Wastes such as wood and other organic material are disposed of by controlled burning at high temperatures, called combustion. The waste is reduced to ash and produces gases. The gases are treated to reduce toxicity before releasing into the environment.

The ash, thus produced, is also used to make specialized bricks and other insulating material. Plants are being set up to use the heat generated by burning waste to generate electricity at many garbage sites.


  • Landfills

Wastes not amenable to recycling or recovery are dumped in landfills, located at sites far-off from the cities and towns operating under strict laws. Layers of soil are added over the waste to prevent water contamination and contact with air.


  • Public awareness

Raising public awareness about the benefits of waste management is key to protecting our health and the environment. Swachh Bharat Mission or Clean India Mission, a countrywide campaign initiated by the Government of India in 2014, helped create mass awareness towards waste management.

Waste is a byproduct of human activities that has become a menace now. A scientific approach to waste management will go a long way in making our cities green, clean, and healthy. This is one of the most relevant and burning issues of our times, and we all should actively follow the formula of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ to protect our environment.

1. What is garbage or waste (examples of garbage)?

Ans. After use, materials discarded by humans – food scraps, plastic bags, packaging material, etc., are considered garbage or waste.

2. What is Waste Management?

Ans. Waste management is the proper collection, transportation, and disposal of waste materials.

3. What are the different types of wastes/garbage?

Ans. Wastes are broadly classified as – Household waste, Industrial waste, Other solid waste (like medical waste), construction waste, etc.

4. What are the different types of waste disposal methods?

Ans. Types of waste disposal methods are Recycling, composting (vermicomposting), incineration, landfills, etc.

5. How can we reduce waste?


  • Encourage use of reusable bags
  • Reduce usage of plastic
  • Avoid purchasing pre-packaged fruits and vegetables (in plastic)
  • Adopt the practice of composting/vermicomposting of kitchen/garden waste.

To explore and learn more about garbage/wastes, waste management, vermicomposting, you can download the MSVgo app. MSVgo is a video-based learning app designed to explain concepts such as simple, interactive, and easy-to-understand visualizations. Visit the iOS App Store, Google Play, or the website to download it. Welcome to an interesting way to learn difficult Math Science topics with ease!

High School Physics

  • Alternating Current
  • Atoms
  • Communication Systems
  • Current Electricity
  • Dual nature of Radiation and Matter
  • Electric Charges and Fields
  • Electricity
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Electromagnetic Waves
  • Electron Beams and Radioactivity
  • Electrons and Photons
  • Electrostatic Potential and Capacitance
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  • Force and Acceleration
  • Force And Laws Of Motion
  • Gravitation
  • Internal Energy
  • Kinetic Theory
  • Law of motion
  • Light – Reflection And Refraction
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  • Magnetism and Matter
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  • Units and Measurement
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High School Chemistry

  • Acids, Bases and Salts
  • Alcohols, Phenols and Ethers
  • Aldehydes, Ketones and Carboxylic Acids
  • Aliphatic and Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Alkyl and Aryl Halides
  • Amines
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  • Atomic Structure
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  • Basic concepts of Chemistry
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  • Carboxylic acids and Acid Derivatives
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  • Chemical Reactions and Their Mechanisms
  • Chemistry in Everyday Life
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High School Biology

  • Absorption and Movement of Water in Plants
  • Adolescent Issues
  • Anatomy of Flowering Plants
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Bacteria and Fungi-Friends and Foe
  • Biodiversity and Conservation
  • Biofertilizers
  • Biological Classification
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  • Biomolecules
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  • Cell – Unit of Life
  • Cell Cycle and Cell Division
  • Cell Division and Structure of Chromosomes
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  • Cellular Respiration
  • Chemical Coordination and Integration
  • Circulation
  • Control And Coordination
  • Crop Improvement
  • Digestion and Absorption
  • Diversity In Living Organisms
  • Ecosystem
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  • Excretory Products and their Elimination
  • Flowering Plants
  • Genes and Chromosomes
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  • Plant Growth and Development
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  • Strategies for Enhancement in Food Production
  • Structural Organisation in Animals
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  • The Endocrine System
  • The Fundamental Unit Of Life
  • The Living World
  • The Nervous System and Sense Organs
  • Tissues
  • Transpiration
  • Transport in Plants

High School Math

  • Algebra – Arithmatic Progressions
  • Algebra – Complex Numbers and Quadratic Equations
  • Algebra – Linear Inequalities
  • Algebra – Pair of Linear Equations in Two Variables
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  • Algebra – Principle of Mathematical Induction
  • Algebra – Quadratic Equations
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Calculus – Applications of Derivatives
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  • Probability
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  • Trignometry – Height and Distance
  • Trignometry – Identities
  • Trignometry – Introduction

Middle School Science

  • Acids, Bases And Salts
  • Air and Its Constituents
  • Basic Biology
  • Body Movements
  • Carbon and Its Compounds
  • Cell – Structure And Functions
  • Changes Around Us
  • Chemical Effects Of Electric Current
  • Chemistry in Your Life
  • Coal And Petroleum
  • Combustion And Flame
  • Components Of Food
  • Conservation Of Plants And Animals
  • Crop Production And Management
  • Electric Current And Its Effects
  • Electricity And Circuits
  • Elements and Compounds
  • Fibre To Fabric
  • Food production and management
  • Force And Pressure
  • Forests: Our Lifeline
  • Friction
  • Fun With Magnets
  • Garbage In, Garbage Out
  • Getting To Know Plants
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Heat
  • Hydrogen
  • Life Processes: Nutrition in Animals and Plants
  • Light, Shadows And Reflections
  • Materials: Metals And Non-Metals
  • Matter and Its States
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  • Micro Organisms: Friend And Foe
  • Motion And Measurement Of Distances
  • Motion And Time
  • Nutrition In Animals
  • Nutrition In Plants
  • Organization in Living Things
  • Our Environment
  • Physical And Chemical Changes
  • Pollution and conservation
  • Pollution Of Air And Water
  • Reaching The Age Of Adolescence
  • Reproduction In Animals
  • Reproduction In Plants
  • Respiration In Organisms
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Separation Of Substances
  • Simple Machines
  • Soil
  • Some Natural Phenomena
  • Sorting Materials Into Groups
  • Sound
  • Stars And The Solar System
  • Structure of Atom
  • Synthetic Fibers And Plastics
  • The Living Organisms And Their Surroundings
  • Transfer of Heat
  • Transformation of Substances
  • Transportation In Animals And Plants
  • Universe
  • Waste-water Story
  • Water: A Precious Resource
  • Weather, Climate And Adaptations Of Animals To Climate
  • Winds, Storms And Cyclones

Middle School Math

  • Addition
  • Area and Its Boundary
  • Boxes and Sketches
  • Data Handling
  • Fun With Numbers
  • Heavy and Light
  • How Many
  • Long And Short
  • Mapping
  • Measurement
  • Money
  • Multiplication and Factors
  • Multiply and Divide
  • Numbers
  • Parts and Wholes
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Patterns
  • Play With Patterns
  • Rupees And Paise
  • Shapes And Angles
  • Shapes And Designs
  • Shapes and Space
  • Similarity
  • Smart Charts
  • Squares
  • Subtraction
  • Tables And Shares
  • Tenths and Hundredths
  • Time
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