Waste Management

Consumption and waste of resources is probably related to supply available more than any other factor. Waste management is the collection, transport, processing or disposal, managing and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and the process is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics. Waste management is a distinct practice from resource recovery which focuses on delaying the rate of consumption of natural resources. All wastes materials, whether they are solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive fall within the remit of waste management. Waste management practices can differ for urban and rural areas, and for residential and industrial producers.

There are a number of concepts about waste management which vary in their usage between countries or regions. Some of the most general, widely used concepts include:

  • Waste hierarchy - The waste hierarchy refers to the "3 Rs" reduce, reuse and recycle, which classify waste management strategies according to their desirability in terms of waste minimization. The waste hierarchy remains the cornerstone of most waste minimization strategies. The aim of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste.
  • Polluter pays principle - the Polluter Pays Principle is a principle where the polluting party pays for the impact caused to the environment. With respect to waste management, this generally refers to the requirement for a waste generator to pay for appropriate disposal of the unrecoverable material.