The types of on-site processing of waste materials are:
- resource recovery to generate less waste in the environment
- hazard reduction in the environment
- separation of types of waste
On-site processing of waste materials includes the separation of wastes and treatment of solid wastes at or near the source of generation. It is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to re-cycling of waste. It diverts the different types of waste materials to locations for appropriate treatment in the solid waste management system. It reduces the quantity of general waste and minimizes the toxicity. It also minimizes the cost of operations and reduces maintenance problems. The economic validity of most biological treatments largely depends on separation and on-site processing of waste materials. Appropriate sorting of types of solid waste at source ensure the quality of disposal and significantly influences marketing of a recycled product. Without sorting and on-site processing of waste materials, expensive sorting and final refining technology are required in central treatment plants to process mixed waste. Within an industrial setting , on-site processing of waste material reduces waste treatment cost, minimizes the regularity burden and eases production costs
Most cities in Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and some in Korea have adopted municipally-sponsored on-site processing of waste materials and collection systems. In some cases, separation of used materials by the community has been made mandatory. For example, in Japan and Australia, cities have implemented laws and regulations governing disposal that bans substances such as batteries, tires, waste oil, CFC gases, PCBs, etc. There is a mandatory deposit for some goods such as mercuric oxide batteries, aluminium and plastic containers, tires, non-degradable plastic bags. In many developing countries, a large number of people work in informal on-site processing of waste materials and resource recovery exposing them to severe health risks. In many instances, the most common problem in the poorer parts of the developing world is that there is a considerable overlap between administrative and enforcement authorities concerning environmental control, particularly in the field of the waste management. Attempts can be made to integrate unmanaged sectors into formal waste management systems, or more encouragement can be given by municipal organizations to NGOs or community based organizations to play a more effective role in improving waste management practices and thus improve the overall environmental situation. However, an accurate assessment for such activities is essential to make the system environmentally and economically sustainable.