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Waste Management

History Of Waste Management, Municipal Solid Waste, Agricultural, Mining, And Industrial Waste, Hazardous Waste

Waste management is the handling of discarded materials. Recycling and composting, which transform waste into useful products, are forms of waste management. The management of waste also includes disposal, such as landfilling.

Waste can be almost anything, including food, leaves, newspapers, bottles, construction debris, chemicals from a factory, candy wrappers, disposable diapers, old cars, or radioactive materials. People have always produced waste, but as industry and technology have evolved and the human population has grown, waste management has become increasingly complex.

A primary objective of waste management today is to protect the public and the environment from potentially harmful effects of waste. Some waste materials are normally safe, but can become hazardous if not managed properly. For example, 1 gal (3.75 l) of used motor oil can potentially contaminate one million gallons (3,790,000 l) of drinking water.

Every individual, business or organization must make decisions and take some responsibility regarding the management of their waste. On a larger scale, government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels enact and enforce regulations governing waste management. These agencies also educate the public about proper waste management. In addition, local government agencies may provide disposal or recycling services, or they may hire or authorize private companies to perform those functions.


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