Top 30 Waste Management Interview Questions and Answers in 2024

Calls for effective waste management are compelling employers to hire personnel who are highly skilled in waste management. If you are preparing for a waste management interview, this article is for you. Read on to know commonly tested areas and the best way to respond to waste management interview questions.

1. What Is Waste Management?

Waste management refers to processes and activities undertaken to manage waste, including collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal. The main aim of waste management is to reduce the number of items you will eventually dispose of. It helps to minimize or eliminate potential hazards to the environment. Good waste management enhances public health. Waste can be in any form such as liquid, solid, or gas. Each type has its disposal procedures. Waste management processes provide a range of options for recycling trash or disposing of it effectively to protect the environment and life.

2. What Is Waste Minimization?

This is a collection of practices and processes that seek to lower the quantity of waste generated. Waste minimization aids in the promotion of a more sustainable society by minimizing or eliminating the development of persistent and harmful waste. Waste minimization involves recreating processes and products. It also constitutes changing the patterns of production and consumption in society. Waste reduction protects the environment and has a positive impact on the economy. It can have major advantages if people do it safely, efficiently, and sustainably.

3. What Processes Would You Implement In Waste Minimization?

There are several processes applied to minimize waste. One of them is waste exchange. This involves making the waste of a particular process the raw material of the subsequent process. This process reduces the volume of wastes that are difficult to eliminate. Another process is reusing scrap materials. This involves re-incorporating scrap in manufacturing so that it does not become waste. Zero waste is another process that seeks to eradicate waste from the source and every step of production. 

4. Name Some Drawbacks Of Landfill Disposal

Landfills are the most common sites for disposing of non-recyclable wastes. However, they pose several negative effects on the environment. Air, groundwater, and soil pollution are one of them. Landfills promote the breeding of contaminants including bacteria. Waste in landfills can easily contaminate air, sea, and land. Deforestation is another drawback. Some authorities and organizations clear forests to create landfill sites. This destroys the natural habitat for fauna and flora. Landfills lead to an ecological imbalance. When bacteria multiply rapidly in landfills, this process disrupts the ecosystem and promotes the growth of some organisms at the expense of others.

5. Does Proper Waste Management Improve Human Health?

Yes. The improper handling and disposal of various wastes can result in several health problems for people. These could include breathing issues, skin rashes, and other ailments. Wastes that produce toxins like dioxins are dangerous, particularly when these chemicals diffuse into the air humans breathe. Furthermore, hazardous substances from waste that leaks into bodies of water and streams can harm people who drink such water. Due to these factors, waste managers should instruct people on how to manage and properly dispose of trash, whether in their houses or business places. This can prevent endangering their health and developing severe conditions.

6. How Would You Achieve Efficient Waste Management?

There are several ways I would achieve this. I would seek to reduce waste at the source. This would be making sure that people reduce the wastes they generate daily. Another strategy for effective waste management is reusing waste. I would identify waste that can be used either for the same purpose or reutilized differently. It could involve redesigning it to give it a completely new look. Waste recycling is another method that can facilitate effective waste management. This involves processing waste to make it useful again. For instance, one can decompose food organically to make fertilizers or manure. 

7. What Do You Understand By Biodegradable Waste?

This refers to a kind of waste that originates mainly from animal or plant sources. Other living organisms can degrade this type of waste. The most common examples of this waste are paper waste, food waste, green waste, and biodegradable plastics. Individuals and organizations often use this kind of waste for composting. It can also be a resource for fuel, electricity, and heat. 

8. Waste Management Hierarchy: What Is It?

 This constitutes a framework that guides and ranks waste management decisions. It is applicable at an organizational and individual level. The waste management hierarchy prioritizes certain processes and helps waste managers to control waste effectively at all levels of its management. The hierarchy brings about the life cycle of thinking in waste management. It helps to look at the totality of waste and its impact, from the source through to its disposal.

9. Briefly Describe The Stages Of Waste Management Hierarchy

There are six states in the waste management hierarchy. These prevent, reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, and dispose of. These stages come in an inverted pyramid. 

  • Prevent and reuse

At the top is prevent and reduce phases. These aim to avoid or minimize as much as possible waste production. If a business cannot prevent or reduce waste, it should prepare the waste it produces for reuse. 

  • Reuse

Reusing waste helps businesses to minimize the use of virgin materials and new goods. If you reuse waste, you will not need to hire someone to dispose of your trash. 

  • Recycle

Recycling involves processing waste items, which may otherwise end up in a landfill. Businesses can process and turn these items into new products. One needs to have suitable recycling resources to maximize recycling opportunities. These could be onsite recycling facilities. It could also involve hiring a recycling provider. 

  • Recover

A business moves to the recovery stage when it cannot recycle waste anymore. Here, the aim is to recover materials or energy from waste. 

  • Disposal

The disposal and last step apply to items that fail all the other phases. A company can take this kind of waste to disposal sites. This can be a public or private waste disposal site.

10. What Is Composting?

This is a waste disposal method that applies to solid waste. It employs biological waste treatment processes where microorganisms break down organic materials into smaller compounds. Composting helps to convert organic waste into a useful product like manure. 

11. Explain What Is Meant By Incineration

Incineration is a method that companies use to dispose of solid organic wastes. This disposal approach subjects these wastes to combustion to convert them to gaseous and residue products. Waste managers use incineration to eliminate solid residue from wastewater or solid waste. Using this process, you can reduce the volume of solid waste matter by up to 30 percent. This method employs incinerators. It helps to dispose of biological medical waste or other dangerous waste materials. 

12. Why Are There Controversies Surrounding Incineration?

Incineration has attracted controversies due to the gaseous pollutants it emits. This method employs incinerators that turn solid waste into steam, heat, ash, and gas. People have raised concerns over gas emissions that incinerators produce. Of particular concern have been toxins such as dioxins that can cause serious environmental and health consequences. Incineration processes may emit gases that can cause acid rain. These are some of the issues that make incineration less common than other waste disposal methods.

13. Briefly Explain Three Categories Of Liquid Waste

There are several broad categories of liquid waste.

  • Sanitary waste

Sanitary waste or sewage consists of wash water and human waste from homes or commercial and public buildings. Domestic liquid waste from bathrooms and kitchens also falls under this category.

  • Industrial sewage

This refers to waster waste that comes from different manufacturing processes. This waste usually contains different chemical compounds. The industrial waste can have oil, gas, or metallic components. This kind of waste is common in areas with industries.

  • Stormwater waste

This appears in the form of surface runoff. This waste carries organics and dissolved solids that stormwater picks as it runs on the surface. Stormwater waste occurs when there is stormy weather.

14. What Do You Consider When Choosing A Sewage Disposal Method?

There is no single sewage disposal method that applies to all situations. When choosing the right method, I consider certain factors. The quality of sewage that needs disposal is one of the key factors. I also consider the water table. Another consideration is if there is well water and whether it supplies water to surrounding communities. Another consideration is the land available for sewage disposal and if it’s adequate. These factors help to select the most appropriate disposal method.

15. Why Is It Necessary To Treat Water Waste?

It is important to treat water waste before discharging it back to the natural hydrologic cycle or environment to protect the environment and enhance public health. Treating water waste helps to remove biodegradable organic elements that may be present in the water. It also helps to destroy pathogenic microorganisms. In some cases, the treatment kills pathogens in water waste that may infect humans or animals. Treatment helps to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Water waste can flow quickly to undesirable locations. So, treating it helps to counter unwanted consequences such as diseases.

16. What Is Considered Contaminated Waste?

The contaminated waste consists of anything that has come into contact with microorganisms that can cause infections or diseases. This waste is most common in healthcare settings. This constitutes any waste that comes from laboratories and operating rooms. Such wastes include urine, sputum, feces, and blood specimens. Contaminated waste includes body fluids such as stool, pus, and blood. It also consists of waste items or liquids that come into contact with body fluids. Other wastes in this category are soiled medical items and devices that can injure or spread diseases.

17. What Steps Would You Follow To Dispose Of Solid Contaminated Waste?

These wastes include used clothes and surgical specimens that may be carrying microorganisms. To dispose of this waste, I would begin by wearing utility or heavy-duty gloves to prevent any contamination when handling it. Next, I would collect the waste and place it in galvanized metal or plastic waste container with a tight-fitting cover. After that, I would pick up the container and transport it to the disposal site for incineration or another disposal method. Lastly, I would remove the gloves, disinfect gloves appropriately, and wash my hands.

18. What Does A Green Bin Service Involve?

In a green bin service, residents obtain a waste bin or cart from the collector and use it to accumulate food waste from their household. This works similarly to ordinary garbage bins. Depending on the location of the waste disposal site, some companies use the same bins to collect waste while others use separate bins. On days when the company picks up the waste, customers place green bins outside along with garbage cans, where collection vehicles collect them. Once at a processing facility, organic waste is either anaerobically digested or composted.

19. Tell Us Some Challenges Associated With Green Bin Collection

The most common challenge of green bin collection is the attraction of pets, pests, and other unwanted animals or organisms. Although most bins may have a locking mechanism, some of these animals can be notorious for getting their way into the bin. Pets can push and open the lid of a bin that is not tight. Pests are good at invading these bins. Another challenge is that green bins can be heavy to haul when they are full of food waste. Getting waste bins to the curb may not favor some demographics such as the elderly. Moreover, winter presents a huge challenge when ice accumulates and freezes the waste bins.

20. What Is Waste Sorting And Why Is It Important?

The process of sorting waste involves dividing it into categories. Waste can be manually sorted at home and collected via curb collection programs. Some waste management facilities may have equipment that automatically separates different waste materials. Biological waste treatment facilities are good examples of such sites. In the history of garbage sorting, hand sorting was the first technique. Sorting waste is crucial because it can increase the amount of waste that is later recycled. That way, the process lowers the amount of waste taken to landfills that can pollute the environment. Mixed trash released into the environment could endanger the environment by releasing dangerous substances into the earth. One of these is unsafe gases that could hasten the depletion of the ozone layer.

21. Is Waste Segregation Different From Waste Sorting?

Yes, waste segregation refers to the separation of dry and wet waste. The dry waste consists of metals, glass, wood-related materials, and so on. On the other hand, wet waste consists of organic garbage that eating establishments generate. Dampness in wet waste makes it heavier than dry waste. Segregation occurs at the collection or dumping site, but sorting happens after collection or dumping.

22. Hazardous Waste: What Is It?

This is waste that poses potential risks to the environment or public health. It is waste that is dangerous or has the potential to harm the surroundings or human health. Hazardous waste comes from various sources, including industrial manufacturing process wastes, batteries, and sludge. It can also take on different forms, including liquids, solids, gases, and gases in liquid form.

23. How Do You Identify Dangerous Waste?

Typically, they have one or more hazardous qualities of toxicity, corrosivity, reactivity, and ignitability. Dangerous wastes come in different physical states such as solid, liquid, or gas. The first step in identifying unsafe waste is to determine if the trash at hand is solid or not. After identifying solid waste, I would find out if it falls under the class of unsafe waste. This is important because not every solid waste is hazardous. So, if the waste is solid and has unsafe qualities, I would conclude that it is dangerous waste.

24. What Are TSDFs

TSDFs stands for Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities. TSDFs offer short-term storage, treatment, and eventual disposal of dangerous wastes. These facilities provide all structures, land, and equipment necessary for storing, treating, and disposing of unsafe trash. TSDFs stores waste temporarily before treatment or disposal. These facilities take some waste materials to other locations if they are not due for destruction or disposal.

25. Differentiate Aerobic Composting From Anaerobic Composting?

The aerobic composting process uses bacteria that grow best in an oxygen-rich environment to produce compost. This process is common in the making of fertilizers. Although aerobic composting is the quickest composting process, it requires more effort because people or machines need to rotate the organic materials frequently. The bacteria that cause decomposition occur naturally and dwell in the moisture that surrounds organic waste. Oxygen diffuses into the wetness, and bacteria absorb it. On the other hand, anaerobic composting involves employing bacteria that cannot grow in the presence of oxygen to produce fertilizing compost. When oxygen is not present in biodegradable material, anaerobic composting takes place. Microorganisms use this technique to decompose organic waste in a fairly long period than aerobic composting.

26. Between Aerobic And Anaerobic Composting, Which Is Better?

Anaerobic composting is relatively easier considering the physical input needed and requires less maintenance. As a result, it takes less time and is the best option for those who own larger properties. It is best in places where the waste smell doe not causes problems. Anaerobic composting is preferable if you lack the time or resources to turn an aerobic compost heap of organic waste several times each week. But aerobic composting does not affect the environment as much. It also creates rich compost more quickly. That is why many composting experts prefer it. Aerobic composting also eliminates harmful pathogens present in the ingredients of the compost and during the initial stages of decomposition.

27. What Are Some Eco-Friendly Ways People Can Dispose Of Electronic Waste?

They can give their e-waste to electronic waste recyclers. It is a good idea to look for and work with a certified electronic waste recycler. That means you will not have to worry about losing your information to criminals or polluting another nation. Another eco-friendly method is selling outdated technology. One person’s trash might be another person’s treasure. Offering e-waste as a donation is another environment-friendly way to dispose of technology waste. 

28. Explain Strategies You Would Apply To Enhance Waste Management And Treatment.

Efficient waste management and treatment are necessary to control environmental pollution and protect life and the surroundings. I would develop reclamation techniques to help convert wasteland into land suitable for cultivation or habitation. Another strategy would be to treat waste effectively to prevent the release of pollutants into the environment. I would also create ways to recycle waste or convert it to energy.

29. Tell Us What Plasma Gasification Involves

This is a form of eco-friendly waste disposal technique. It converts solid waste in landfills into electricity using commodity recyclables. High temperatures transform carbon-based materials into syngas, which can either be burned immediately or further processed to create chemicals and better fuels. Plasma gasification transforms a non-organic portion of the waste into tightly bound, slag-cooled solid waste. This is a raw product for construction. Industries that aim for zero waste opt for this approach instead of trash disposal.

30. Is It Necessary To Have A Waste Management Plan?

Yes. A waste management plan describes how a business will manage and deal with different forms of waste. It covers the management of all solid and liquid waste, including hazardous and non-hazardous waste. The plan guides processes and actions that help to prevent environmental deterioration and adverse effects on public health and safety. It provides guidelines on waste reduction, segregation, collection, and disposal methods in conformity with international best practices. Businesses can reduce waste management costs by adhering to their waste management plan.


Familiarize yourself with the waste management areas covered in this article. In doing so, you will be ready to answer any of these questions. In addition to studying these interview questions, visit the company’s website to gain a general idea of its history and what it does. Good luck!

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