Waste

Waste

Overview
Waste is unwanted or useless materials. In biology, waste is any of the many unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from living organisms, metabolic waste
Metabolic waste
Metabolic wastes or excretes are substances left over from excretory processes, which cannot be used by the organism , and must therefore be excreted. This includes nitrogen compounds, water, CO2, phosphates, sulfates, insoles, medicals, food additives etc. Animals treat these compounds as excretes...

; such as urea
Urea
Urea or carbamide is an organic compound with the chemical formula CO2. The molecule has two —NH2 groups joined by a carbonyl functional group....

, sweat
SWEAT
SWEAT is an OLN/TSN show hosted by Julie Zwillich that aired in 2003-2004.Each of the 13 half-hour episodes of SWEAT features a different outdoor sport: kayaking, mountain biking, ice hockey, beach volleyball, soccer, windsurfing, rowing, Ultimate, triathlon, wakeboarding, snowboarding, telemark...

 or feces
Feces
Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation.-Etymology:...

. Litter
Litter
Litter consists of waste products such as containers, papers, wrappers or faeces which have been disposed of without consent. Litter can also be used as a verb...

 is waste which has been disposed of improperly. Feces contain large quantities of fresh and soft texturized waste products.

Waste is directly linked to human development, both technologically and socially.
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Quotations

There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use. : Mother Teresa (1910–1997), A Gift for God, 1975

The ocean is tired. It's throwing back at us what we're throwing in there. : Frank Lautenberg, US Senator, on cases of dumped waste washing ashore at beaches, quoted in USA Today, 11 August 1988

Source Reduction is to garbage what preventive medicine is to health.

William Rathje, Atlantic Monthly, December 1989

To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.

Theodore Roosevelt, Seventh Annual Message, December 3, 1907
Encyclopedia
Waste is unwanted or useless materials. In biology, waste is any of the many unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from living organisms, metabolic waste
Metabolic waste
Metabolic wastes or excretes are substances left over from excretory processes, which cannot be used by the organism , and must therefore be excreted. This includes nitrogen compounds, water, CO2, phosphates, sulfates, insoles, medicals, food additives etc. Animals treat these compounds as excretes...

; such as urea
Urea
Urea or carbamide is an organic compound with the chemical formula CO2. The molecule has two —NH2 groups joined by a carbonyl functional group....

, sweat
SWEAT
SWEAT is an OLN/TSN show hosted by Julie Zwillich that aired in 2003-2004.Each of the 13 half-hour episodes of SWEAT features a different outdoor sport: kayaking, mountain biking, ice hockey, beach volleyball, soccer, windsurfing, rowing, Ultimate, triathlon, wakeboarding, snowboarding, telemark...

 or feces
Feces
Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation.-Etymology:...

. Litter
Litter
Litter consists of waste products such as containers, papers, wrappers or faeces which have been disposed of without consent. Litter can also be used as a verb...

 is waste which has been disposed of improperly. Feces contain large quantities of fresh and soft texturized waste products.

Waste is directly linked to human development, both technologically and socially. The compositions of different wastes have varied over time and location, with industrial development and innovation being directly linked to waste materials. An example of this includes plastics and nuclear technology. Some components of waste have economical value and can be recycled
Recycling
Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

 once correctly recovered.

Waste is sometimes a subjective concept, because items that some people discard may have value to others. It is widely recognized that waste materials are a valuable resource, whilst there is debate as to how this value is best realized. Such concepts are colloquially expressed in western culture by such idioms as "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

There are many waste types
Waste types
Waste comes in many different forms:*Solid Wastes*Gaseous Wastes*Animal by-products*Biodegradable waste*Biomedical waste*Bulky waste*Business waste*Chemical waste*Clinical waste*Coffee wastewater*Commercial waste...

 defined by modern systems of waste management
Waste management
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...

, notably including:
  • Municipal Waste includes household waste, commercial waste, demolition waste
  • Hazardous Waste includes Industrial waste
  • Bio-medical Waste includes clinical waste
  • Special Hazardous waste
    Hazardous waste
    A hazardous waste is waste that poses substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment. According to the U.S. environmental laws hazardous wastes fall into two major categories: characteristic wastes and listed wastes.Characteristic hazardous wastes are materials that are known...

     includes radioactive waste, Explosives waste, E-waste

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


According to the Basel Convention
Basel Convention
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known simply as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of...

:

"Substances or objects which are disposed off or are intended to be disposed off or are required to be disposed off by the provisions of international law" (Basel Convention).

Produced by the United Nations Statistics Division (U.N.S.D.):

"Wastes are materials that are not prime products (that is products produced for the market) for which the generator has no further use in terms of his/her own purposes of production, transformation or consumption, and of which he/she wants to dispose. Wastes may be generated during the extraction of raw materials, the processing of raw materials into intermediate and final products, the consumption of final products, and other human activities. Residuals recycled or reused at the place of generation are excluded."}}

The UK's Environmental Protection Act 1990 indicated waste includes any substance which constitutes a scrap
Scrap
Scrap is a term used to describe recyclable and other materials left over from every manner of product consumption, such as parts of vehicles, building supplies, and surplus materials. Unlike waste, scrap has significant monetary value...

 material, an effluent or other unwanted surplus arising from the application of any process or any substance or article which requires to be disposed of which has been broken, worn out, contaminated or otherwise spoiled; this is supplemented with anything which is discarded otherwise dealt with as if it were waste shall be presumed to be waste unless the contrary is proved. This definition was amended by the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 defining waste as:
The European Union has started a discussion that will end in an End-of-Waste directive which will clarify the distinction between waste, which shall be treated for disposal, and raw materials that can be reused for the same or other purposes.

Scholars

  • Proposed definitions by Pongrácz and Pohjola (2004)
  1. Non-wanted things created, not intended, or not avoided, with no Purpose.
  2. Things that were given a finite Purpose thus destined to become useless after fulfilling it.
  3. Things with well-defined Purpose, but their Performance ceased being acceptable
  4. Things with well-defined Purpose, and acceptable Performance, but their users failed to use them for the intended Purpose.

  • Taiichi Ohno from Toyota Production System describes waste as "Any human activity that absorbs resources but creates no value".

Reporting


There are many issues that surround reporting waste. It is most commonly measured by size or weight, and there is a stark difference between the two. For example, organic waste is much heavier when it is wet, and plastic or glass bottles can have different weights but be the same size. On a global scale it is difficult to report waste because countries have different definitions of waste and what falls into waste categories, as well as different ways of reporting. Based on incomplete reports from its parties, the Basel Convention
Basel Convention
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known simply as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of...

 estimated 338 million tonnes of waste was generated in 2001. For the same year, OCED estimated 4 billion tonnes from its member countries. Despite these inconsistencies, waste reporting is still useful on a small and large scale to determine key causes and locations, and to find ways of preventing, minimizing, recovering, treating, and disposing waste.

Environmental costs


Waste attract rodents and insects which harbour gastrointestinal parasites, yellow fever, worms, the plague and other conditions for humans. Exposure to hazardous wastes, particularly when they are burned, can cause various other diseases including cancers. Waste can contaminate surface water, groundwater, soil, and air which causes more problems for humans, other species, and ecosystems. Waste treatment and disposal produces significant green house gas (GHG) emissions, notably methane, which are contributing significantly to global climate change.

Social costs


Waste management is a significant environmental justice
Environmental justice
Environmental justice is "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." In the words of Bunyan Bryant,...

 issue. Many of the environmental burdens cited above are more often borne by marginalized groups, such as racial minorities, women, and residents of developing nations. NIMBY
NIMBY
NIMBY or Nimby is an acronym for the phrase "not in my back yard". The term is used pejoratively to describe opposition by residents to a proposal for a new development close to them. Opposing residents themselves are sometimes called Nimbies...

 (not-in-my-back-yard) is a popular term used to describe the opposition of residents to a proposal for a new development close to them. However, the need for expansion and siting of waste treatment and disposal facilities is increasing worldwide. There is now a growing market in the transboundary movement of waste, and although most waste that flows between countries goes between developed nations, a significant amount of waste is moved from developed to developing nations.

Economic costs


The economic costs of managing waste are high, and are often paid for by municipal governments. Money can often be saved with more efficiently designed collection routes, modifying vehicles, and with public education. Environmental policies such as pay as you throw
Pay as you throw
Pay as you throw is a usage-pricing model for disposing of municipal solid waste. Users are charged a rate based on how much waste they present for collection to the municipality or local authority.A variety of models exist depending on the region and municipality...

 can reduce the cost of management and reduce waste quantities. Waste recovery (that is, recycling
Recycling
Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

, reuse
Reuse
To reuse is to use an item more than once. This includes conventional reuse where the item is used again for the same function, and new-life reuse where it is used for a different function. In contrast, recycling is the breaking down of the used item into raw materials which are used to make new...

) can curve economic costs because it avoids extracting raw materials and often cuts transportation costs. The location of waste treatment and disposal facilities often has an impact on property values due to noise, dust, pollution, unsightliness, and negative stigma. The informal waste sector consists mostly of waste picker
Waste picker
A waste picker, recycler, rag picker, salvager, binner, informal resource recoverer, poacher, or a scavenger, is a person who salvages recyclable elements from mixed waste...

s who scavenge for metals, glass, plastic, textiles, and other materials and then trade them for a profit. This sector can significantly alter or reduce waste in a particular system, but other negative economic effects come with the disease, poverty, exploitation, and abuse of its workers.

Education and awareness


Education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and awareness
Awareness
Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of...

 in the area of waste and waste management
Waste management
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...

 is increasingly important from a global perspective of resource management
Resource management
In organizational studies, resource management is the efficient and effective deployment of an organization's resources when they are needed. Such resources may include financial resources, inventory, human skills, production resources, or information technology...

. The Talloires Declaration
Talloires Declaration
The Talloires Declaration is a declaration for sustainability, created for and by presidents of institutions of higher learning. Jean Mayer, Tufts University president, convened a conference of 22 universities in 1990 in Talloires, France...

 is a declaration for sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of environmental pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 and degradation
Environmental degradation
Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife...

, and the depletion
Resource depletion
Resource depletion is an economic term referring to the exhaustion of raw materials within a region. Resources are commonly divided between renewable resources and non-renewable resources...

 of natural resources
Natural Resources
Natural Resources is a soul album released by Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1970 on the Gordy label. The album is significant for the Vietnam War ballad "I Should Be Proud" and the slow jam, "Love Guess Who"...

. Local, regional, and global air pollution; accumulation and distribution of toxic wastes; destruction and depletion of forests, soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

, and water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

; depletion of the ozone layer
Ozone layer
The ozone layer is a layer in Earth's atmosphere which contains relatively high concentrations of ozone . This layer absorbs 97–99% of the Sun's high frequency ultraviolet light, which is potentially damaging to the life forms on Earth...

 and emission of "green house" gases threaten the survival of humans and thousands of other living species, the integrity of the earth and its biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

, the security of nations, and the heritage of future generations. Several universities have implemented the Talloires Declaration by establishing environmental management
Environmental management
Environmental resource management is “a purposeful activity with the goal to maintain and improve the state of an environmental resource affected by human activities” . It is not, as the phrase suggests, the management of the environment as such, but rather the management of the interaction and...

 and waste management programs, e.g. the waste management universityproject. University
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 and vocational education are promoted by various organizations, e.g. WAMITAB and Chartered Institution of Wastes Management.

See also



  • Environmental dumping
    Environmental dumping
    Environmental dumping is the practice of transfrontier shipment of waste from one country to another. The goal is to take the waste to a country that has less strict environmental laws, or environmental laws that are not strictly enforced...

  • Fly-tipping
    Fly-tipping
    Fly-tipping is a British term for dumping waste illegally instead of in an authorised rubbish dump. It is the illegal deposit of any waste onto land, i.e...

  • Life cycle assessment
    Life cycle assessment
    A life-cycle assessment is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from-cradle-to-grave A life-cycle assessment (LCA, also known as life-cycle analysis, ecobalance, and cradle-to-grave analysis) is a technique to assess environmental impacts...

  • List of waste types
  • Litter
    Litter
    Litter consists of waste products such as containers, papers, wrappers or faeces which have been disposed of without consent. Litter can also be used as a verb...

  • Recycling
    Recycling
    Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

  • Waste by country
    Waste by country
    Waste, unwanted or unusable material, varies in type and quantity in the different countries around the world.-Developed nations:Developed countries produce more waste per capita because they have higher levels of consumption. There are higher proportions of plastics, metals, and paper in the...

  • Waste collection
    Waste collection
    Waste collection is the component of waste management which results in the passage of a waste material from the source of production to either the point of treatment or final disposal...

  • Waste collection vehicle
    Waste collection vehicle
    Garbage truck refers to a truck specially designed to collect small quantities of waste and haul the collected waste to a solid waste treatment facility. Other common names for this type of truck include trash truck and dump truck in the United States, and bin wagon, dustcart, dustbin lorry, bin...

  • Waste converter
    Waste converter
    A waste converter is a machine used for the treatment and recycling of solid and liquid refuse material. A converter is a self-contained system capable of performing the following functions: pasteurization of organic waste; sterilization of pathogenic or biohazard waste; grinding and pulverization...

  • Waste management
    Waste management
    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...


External links