Household Solid Waste Characteristics and Management in Rural Communities

Paúl Taboada-González*, 1, Carolina Armijo-de-Vega2, Quetzalli Aguilar-Virgen1, Sara Ojeda-Benítez3
1 Doctoral Degree Students of the Program Master´s Degree and Doctoral Degree in Sciences and Engineering of the Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico
2 Ensenada Faculty of Engineering, Autonomous University of Baja California, Tijuana-Ensenada Highway, 103 km south of Tijuana, Ensenada, 22870 Baja California, Mexico
3 Institute of Engineering, Autonomous University of Baja California, Benito Juárez Blvd. and De la Norma St., Mexicali, 21280 Baja California, Mexico

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© 2010 Taboada-González et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Engineering Institute, Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico; Tel: 52 (686) 566- 4150; E-mail:


Globally there is a lack of knowledge about waste generation and composition in rural areas because these types of studies have been conducted mainly in big cities. This leaves the local sanitation authorities without information to properly plan its operations. Generally, characterization studies are carried out by using the technique of sampling taking at home level. This method requires human, material and economic resources that sometimes are limited for local sanitation authorities. This paper presents the results of a characterization study obtained by direct analysis of household solid waste generated in two rural communities in northern Mexico. The research also outlines a procedure for estimating the waste generation rate when financial constraints prevent the development of a characterization study at home level. This study attempts to fill the information gap on the generation and composition of solid waste in rural areas. The results indicate a waste generation of 0.631 kg/cap/day in San Quintín and 1.047 kg/cap/day in Vicente Guerrero. The specific weights of the uncompacted SW were respectively 145 kg/m3 and 123 kg/m3. The specific weight of the compacted SW was 229 kg/m3 in San Quintín. Statistically, the composition of waste between these two rural communities differs in one fraction.

Keywords: Characterization, solid waste, rural communities, waste composition, waste generation.