The Full Wiki

Waste: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Common rubbish in a bin bag.
A dumpster full of waste awaiting disposal.
Waste in Ouagadougou

Waste (also referred to as rubbish, trash, refuse, garbage, or junk) is unwanted or unusable materials.

In living organisms, waste is the unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from them. More commonly, waste refers to the materials that are disposed of in a system of waste management.

Waste is directly linked to human development, both technologically and socially. The composition of different wastes have varied over time and location, with industrial development and innovation being directly linked to waste materials. Examples of this include plastics and nuclear technology. Some components of waste have economical value and can be recycled 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.

There are many waste types defined by modern systems of waste management, notably including:



United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

According to the Basel Convention:
"Substances or objects which are disposed of or are intended to be disposed of or are required to be disposed of by the provisions of national law" (Basel Convention).[1]

Produced by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD):
"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." [2].

European Union (EU)

Under the Waste Framework Directive (European Directive 75/442/EC as amended), the European Union defines waste as an object the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard.

Once a substance or object has become waste, it will remain waste until it has been fully recovered and no longer poses a potential threat to the environment or to human health."[3]

Schematic illustration of the EU Legal definition of waste.

The UK's Environmental Protection Act 1990 indicated waste includes any substance which constitutes a scrap 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:

"any substance or object which the producer or the person in possession of it, discards or intends or is required to discard but with exception of anything excluded from the scope of the Waste Directive".[4]

The European Union has started a discussion that will end in an End-of-Waste directive which will clarify the distinction between waste — that shall be treated for disposal — and raw materials that can be reused for the same or other purposes [5].


  • 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. [6]
  • Taiichi Ohno from Toyota Production System describs waste as "Any human activity that absorbs resources but creates no value"


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.[7] 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 estimated 338 million tonnes of waste was generated in 2001.[8] For the same year, OCED estimated 4 billion tonnes from its member countries.[9] 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 can attract rodents and insects which cause 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.[10] Waste treatment and disposal produces significant green house gas (GHG) emissions, notably methane, which are contributing significantly to global climate change.[8]

Social costs

Waste management is a significant environmental justice 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 (not-in-my-back-yard) is a popular term used to describes the opposition of residents to a proposal for a new development close to them.[11] 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.[12]

Economic costs

The economic costs of managing waste are high, and are often paid for by municipal governments.[13] 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 can reduce the cost of management and reduce waste quantities. Waste recovery (that is, recycling, reuse) can curve economic costs because it avoids extracting raw materials and often cuts transportation costs.[14] 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 comprises mostly of waste pickers 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.[15]

Education and awareness

Education and awareness in the area of waste and waste management is increasingly important from a global perspective of resource management. The Talloires Declaration is a declaration for sustainability concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of environmental pollution and degradation, and the depletion of natural resources. Local, regional, and global air pollution; accumulation and distribution of toxic wastes; destruction and depletion of forests, soil, and water; depletion of the ozone layer 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, the security of nations, and the heritage of future generations. Several universities have implemented the Talloires Declaration by establishing environmental management and waste management programs, e.g. the waste management universityproject. University and vocational education are promoted by various organizations, e.g. WAMITAB and Chartered Institution of Wastes Management.

See also


  1. ^ Baker, Elaine et al. “Vital Waste Graphics.” United Nations Environment Program and Grid-Arendal, 2004. < >.
  2. ^ “Glossary of Statistical Terms.” 2003. OECD. 12 Oct 2009. < >. 6
  3. ^ The Definition of Waste Waste Definition, Agrarian
  4. ^ Waste explained CIWM
  5. ^ JRC institute for prospective technological studies, feb 2009
  6. ^ Pongrácz E & Pohjola VJ. “Re-defining waste, the concept of ownership and the roles of waste management.” Resources Conservation & Recycling. 40.2 (2004): 141-153.
  7. ^ "Solid Waste Management." 2005. United Nations Environment Programme. Chapter III: Waste Quantities and Characteristics, 31-38. <>.
  8. ^ a b “International Waste Activities.” 2003. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 12 Oct 2009. < >
  9. ^ "Improving Recycling Markets." OECD Environment Program. Paris: OECD, 2006. <,3343,en_2649_34395_37757966_1_1_1_1,00.html>
  10. ^ Diaz, L. et al. Solid Waste Management, Volume 2. UNEP/Earthprint, 2006.
  11. ^ Wolsink, M. "Entanglement of interests and motives: Assumptions behind the NIMBY-theory on Facility Siting." Urban Studies 31.6 (1994): 851-866.
  12. ^ Ray, A. "Waste management in developing Asia: Can trade and cooperation help?" The Journal of Environment & Development 17.1 (2008): 3-25.
  13. ^ “Muck and brass: The waste business smells of money.” The Economist. 2009 02 28. pp. 10-12.
  14. ^ Carlsson Reich, M. "Economic assessment of municipal waste management systems – case studies using a combination of life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC)". Journal of Cleaner Production 13 (2005): 253-263.
  15. ^ Wilson, D.C.; Velis, C.; Cheeseman, C. "Role of informal sector recycling in waste management in developing countries." Habitat International 30 (2006): 797-808.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Quotes about waste:


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Life is waste..if not properly utilized.

See also

Wikipedia has an article about:
Look up waste in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WASTE (0. Fr. wast, guast, gast, gaste; Lat. vastus, vast, desolate), a term used in English law in several senses, of which four are the most important. (I) "Waste of a manor" is that part of a manor subject to rights of common, as distinguished from the lord's demesne (see Commons, Manor). (2) "Year, day, and waste" was a part of the royal prerogative, acknowledged by a statute of Edward De Praerogativa Regis. The king had the profits of freehold lands of those attainted of felony and petit treason, and of fugitives for a year and a day with a right of committing waste in sense (3) thereon. After the expiration of a year and a day the lands returned to the lord of the fee. This species of waste was abolished by the Corruption of Blood Act 1814 (see Felony, Treason). (3) The most usual signification of the word is "any unauthorized act of a tenant, for a freehold estate not of inheritance, or for any lesser interest, which substantially alters the permanent character of the thing demised (i.) by diminishing its value, (ii.) by increasing the burden on it, (iii.) by impairing the evidence of title and thereby injuring the" inheritance "(West Ham Charity Board v. East London W.W., 1900, 1 Ch. 624, 637; cf. Pollock, Law of Torts, 7th ed., 345).

Waste in sense (3) is either voluntary or permissive. Voluntary waste is by act of commission, as by pulling down a house, wrongfully removing fixtures, cutting down timber trees, i.e. oak, ash, elm, twenty years old, and such other trees, e.g. beech, as by special custom are counted timber, in the district, opening new quarries or mines (but not continuing the working of existing ones), or doing anything which may - for this is the modern test - alter the nature of the thing demised, such as conversion of arable into meadow land. Although an act may technically be waste, it will not as a rule constitute actionable waste, or be restrained by injunction, in the absence of some prohibitive stipulation if it is" ameliorating,"i.e. if it improves the value of the land demised (see Meux v. Cobley, 1892, 2 Ch. 253, 263). In the case of" timber estates "upon which trees of various kinds are cultivated solely for their produce and the profit gained from their periodical felling and cutting, the timber Is not considered as part of the inheritance but as the annual fruits of the estate, and an exception arises in favour of the tenant for life (see Dashwood v. Magniac, 1891, 3 Ch. 306). Under the Settled Land Act 1882 a tenant for life may grant building, mining and other leases for the prescribed terms" for any purpose whatever, whether involving waste or not."Permissive waste is by act of omission, such as allowing buildings to fall out of repair. A" fermor "- a term which here includes" all who held by lease for life or lives, or for years by deed or without deed "by the statute of Marlborough (1267) - may not commit waste without licence in writing from the reversioner. In case a tenant for life or for any smaller interest holds (as is often the case by the terms of a will or settlement) without impeachment of waste" (sauns impeachment de wast, i.e. without liability to have his waste challenged or impeached), his rights are considerably greater, and he may use the profits salva rerum substantia (to use the language of Roman law, from which the English law of waste is in great measure derived). For instance, he may cut timber in a husband-like manner and open mines; but he may not commit what is called equitable waste, that is, pull down or deface the mansion or destroy timber planted or left for ornament or shelter (Weld-Blundell v. Wolseley, 1903, 2 Ch. 664). Acts of equitable waste were, before 1875, not cognizable in courts of common law, but by the Judicature Act 1873, s. 25 (3), in the absence of special provisions to that effect an estate for life without impeachment of waste does not confer upon the tenant for life any legal right to commit equitable waste. A copy-holder may not commit waste unless allowed to do so by the custom of the manor. The penalty for waste is forfeiture of the copyhold; Galbraith v. Poynton, 1905, 2 K.B. 258 (see Copyhold). The Agricultural Holdings Acts 1900 and 1906, by reason of their provisions giving compensation for improvement, as regards the holdings to which they apply, override some of the old common law doctrines as to waste. The act of 1900 provides (s. 2 [31) that where a tenant, who claims compensation for improvements, has wrongfully been guilty of waste, either voluntary or permissive, the landlord shall be entitled to set off the sums due to him in respect of such waste, and to have them assessed by arbitration in manner provided by the acts of 1900 and 1906. Under the act of 1906 the tenant is permitted to disregard the terms of his tenancy as to the mode of cropping on arable land, but if he exercises his statutory freedom of cropping in such a manner as to injure or deteriorate his holding, the landlord is entitled to recover damages for such injury, &c. (s. 3).

Remedies for Waste. - Various remedies for waste have been given to the reversioner at different periods in the history of English law. At common law only single damages seem to have been recoverable. This was altered by the legislature, and for some centuries waste was a criminal or quasi-criminal offence. Magna Carta enacted that a guardian committing waste of the lands in his custody should make amends and lose his office. The statute of Marlborough (1267) made a "fermor" (as above defined) committing waste liable to grievous amercement as well as to damages, and followed Magna Carta in forbidding waste by a guardian. The statute of Gloucester (1278)(1278) enacted that a writ of waste might be granted against a tenant for life or years or in courtesy or dower, and on being attainted of waste the tenant was to forfeit the land wasted and to pay thrice the amount of the waste. This statute was repealed by the Civil Procedure Acts Repeal Act 1879. In addition to the writ of waste the writ of estrepement (said to be a corruption of exstirpamentum, and to be connected with the French estropier, to lame) lay to prevent injury to an estate to which the title was disputed. This writ has long been obsolete. Numerous other statutes dealt with remedies for waste. The writ of waste was superseded at common law by the "mixed action" of waste (itself abolished by the Real Property Limitation Act 1833), and by the action of trespass on the case (see Tort, Trespass). The court of chancery also intervened by injunction to restrain equitable waste. At present proceedings may be taken either by action for damages, or by application for an injunction, or by both combined, and either in the king's bench or in the chancery divisions. By the Judicature Act 1873, s. 25 (8), the old jurisdiction to grant injunctions to prevent threatened waste is considerably enlarged. The Rules of the Supreme Court, Ord. xvi. r. 37, enable a representative action to be brought for the prevention of waste. In order to obtain damages or an injunction, substantial injury or danger of it must be proved. In England only the high court (unless by agreement of the parties) has jurisdiction in questions of waste, but in Ireland, where the law of waste is similar to English law, county courts and courts of summary jurisdiction have co-ordinate authority to a limited extent (cf. Land Act 1860, ss. 35-39).

The law of waste as it affects ecclesiastical benefices will be found under Dilapidations.

(4) "Waste of assets" or "devastavit" is a squandering and misapplication of the estate and effects of a deceased person by his executors or administrators, for which they are answerable out of their own pockets as far as they have or might have had assets of the deceased (see Executors And Administrators). Executors and administrators may now be sued in the county court for waste of assets (County Courts Act 1888, s. 95).

Table of contents


In Scots law "waste" is not used as a technical term, but the respective rights of fiar and life-renter are much the same as in England. As a general rule, a life-renter has no right to cut timber, even though planted by himself. An exception is admitted in the case of coppice wood, which is cut at regular intervals and allowed to grow again from the roots. Grown timber is also available XXVIII. 1 2 a to the life-renter for the purpose of keeping up the estate or repairing buildings. Before making use of mature timber for estate purposes, the life-renter should give notice to the fiar. He is also entitled to the benefit of ordinary windfalls. Extraordinary windfalls are treated as grown timber. Life-renters by "constitution" (i.e. by grant from the proprietor) as opposed to life-renters by "reservation" (where the proprietor has reserved the life-rent to himself in conveying the fee to another) have, as a rule, no right to coals or minerals underground if they are not expressed in the grant or appear to have been intended by a testator to pass by his settlement, for they are partes soli. Where coals or minerals are expressed in the grant, and also in cases of life-rent by "reservation," the liferenter may work any mine which had been opened before the beginning of his right, provided he does not employ a greater number of miners, or bring up a greater quantity of minerals, than the unburdened proprietor did. All life-renters are entitled to such minerals as are required for domestic use and estate purposes.

British Possessions

French law is in force in Mauritius, and has been followed in substance in the civil codes of Quebec (art. 455) and St Lucia (art. 406). In most of the other colonies the rules of English law are followed, and in many of them there has been legislation on the lines of the English Settled Land Acts. In India the law as to waste is included to some extent in the Transfer of Property Act (No. IV. of 1882) and its amendments. Section 108 deals with the liabilities of lessees for waste, which may be varied by the terms of the lease or by local usage. The liabilities for waste of persons having under Hindu or Mahommedan law limited interests in reality depend in the main upon those laws and not on Indian statute law.

United States

" In the United States, especially in the Western states, many acts are held to be only in a natural and reasonable way of using and improving the land - clearing wild woods, for example - which in England, or even in the Eastern states, would be manifest waste" (Pollock, Torts, 7th ed., 345). Thus Virginia, North Carolina, Vermont and Tennessee have deviated in favour of the tenant from English rules, while Massachusetts has adhered to them (Ruling Cases, tit. "Waste," xxv. 380, American notes). In certain states, e.g. Minnesota, Oregon and Washington (ibid., p. 381), the action of waste is regulated by statute.


The French Civil Code provides (art. 591) that the usufructuary may cut timber in plantations that are laid out for cutting, and are cut at regular intervals, although he is bound to follow the example of former proprietors as to quantity and times. This provision is in force in Belgium (Civil Code, art. 591). Analogous provisions are to be found in the civil codes of Holland (art. 814), Spain (art. 485), Italy (art. 486), and cf. the German Civil Code, art. 1 036.


English law: Bewes, Law of Waste; Fawcett, Law of Landlord and Tenant; Foa, Law of Landlord and Tenant; Woodfall, Law of Landlord and Tenant. Scots law: Erskine, Principles (Edinburgh). Irish law: Nolan and Kane, Statutes relating to the Law of Landlord and Tenant in Ireland (Dublin); Wylie, Judicature Acts (Dublin). American law: Bouvier, Law Dict. (Boston and London). Indian law: Shepherd and Brown, Indian Transfer of Property Act 1882. (A. W. R.)

<< Wassail

Watch >>

Simple English

Simple English Wiktionary has the word meaning for:

[[File:|thumb|175px|Waste inside a wheelie bin]] Waste is used, discarded, and unwanted materials. One also speaks of trash, garbage, rubbish, or junk.

There are a number of different types of waste. It can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas or as waste heat. When released in as a liquid or gas the wastes can be referred to as emissions. It is usually strongly linked with pollution.

Waste may also be something that you cannot touch as wasted time or wasted opportunities. The term waste implies things which have been used inefficiently or inappropriately.

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found
Wikimedia Commons has images, video, and/or sound related to:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address