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Waste Management

Trends For The Twenty-first Century

Even with the tremendous increase in the regulation of waste since the early 1970s, many problems still exist with hazardous and other wastes. Citizens often express their concerns about this issue. However, governments have a limited amount of money to spend on environmental protection. As the twenty-first century begins, governments and industry strive to continue to improve the efficiency of recycling and disposal. Governments in the United States and elsewhere will also rely more on waste prevention strategies, because of their lower cost and greater environmental benefit.

The greatest impetus for waste prevention will likely come from the public. More and more citizens will come to understand that pesticides, excessive packaging, and the use of disposable rather than durable items have important environmental costs. Through the growth of the information society, knowledge about these and other environmental issues will increase. This should result in a continuing evolution towards more efficient and environmentally sensitive waste management.

See also Emission; Pollution.



American Water Works Association. Water Quality and Treatment. 5th ed. Denver: American Water Works Association, 1999.

Hirschhorn, Joel, and Kirsten Oldenburg. Prosperity Without Pollution: The Prevention Strategy for Industry and Consumers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1991.

Miller, E. Willard, and Ruby Miller. Environmental Hazards: Toxic Waste and Hazardous Material: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1991.

Rathje, William, and Cullen Murphy. Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992.


Nakamura. "Input-Output Analysis Of Waste Management." Journal Of Industrial Ecology 6, no. 1 (2002): 39-63.


The League of Women Voters Education Fund. The Garbage Primer. New York: Lyons & Burford, 1993.

Tom Watson


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—The process by which organic waste, such as yard waste, food waste, and paper, is broken down by microorganisms and turned into a useful product for improving soil.

Hazardous wastes

—Wastes that are poisonous, flammable, or corrosive, or that react with other substances in a dangerous way.


—The burning of solid waste as a disposal method.


—A land disposal method for solid waste, in which the garbage is covered every day with several inches of soil.


—The use of disused (or waste) materials, also known as secondary materials or recyclables, to produce new products.

Source reduction

—Reduction in the quantity or toxicity of material used for a product or packaging; this is a form of waste prevention.

Waste prevention

—A waste management method that involves preventing waste from being created, or reducing waste.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Verbena Family (Verbenaceae) - Tropical Hardwoods In The Verbena Family to WelfarismWaste Management - History Of Waste Management, Municipal Solid Waste, Agricultural, Mining, And Industrial Waste, Hazardous Waste