Concerns about sustainable development and environmentally sound policies have been growing considerably in the world in the last decades. Waste production and management are among the issues that need to be seriously considered and dealt with. In many countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda and contextually Zimbabwe, waste generation has been growing as a function of population and economic growth, besides unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. Developed countries such as Canada, Denmark and the United States of America have large amounts of resources available for dealing with solid waste problems, unlike developing countries such as Ghana, Egypt and Malawi and contextually, Zimbabwe, where the situation is often aggravated by the extreme lack of funds (Nzeadibe, 2008). Environmentally sound waste management must go beyond the mere safe disposal. It should include minimization actions, reuse and recycling activities, proper treatment and finally safe disposal. The success is highly dependent upon an informed and participatory public ( proper legislation, budget allocation). Public participation is considered to be an integral part of waste management strategies. Integrated solid waste management is an approach that uses a range of methods and practices to handle municipal solid waste. It embraces waste avoidance and minimization methods, reuse and recycling programs, collection of refuse and various treatment methods (Girling, 2005).
Municipal solid waste management involves collection, transporting, recycling and disposal of waste materials (Henry et al, 2006). Managing these waste materials requires reducing effects upon health and environment as well as recovering resources from it and providing support for economic activity. Waste, when not managed properly, can pose serious health hazards (how) (Miller, 2000). Therefore, waste management is an important issue that needs effective solutions. Landfills and incineration are popular methods which many countries adopt to handle their wastes. However, even with these methods, the management of solid waste is still a major challenge constantly faced by many countries. When constant material consumption is encouraged and seen as economic progress, the “buy and discard” mentality results with huge amounts of solid waste being generated (Zerberk, 2003). As landfills start filling up and space for open dump is becoming scarce, governments have started searching for a more effective and efficient solid waste management system.