Many wastes, such as high-level radioactive wastes, will remain dangerous for thousands of years, and even MSW can produce dangerous leachate that could devastate an entire ecosystem if allowed to infiltrate into and migrate within groundwater. Environmental professionals must deal with problems associated with increased generation of waste materials to protect human health and the environment. The solution must focus on reducing the sources of waste and the safe disposal of waste. It is, therefore, extremely important to know the waste’s sources, classifications, chemical compositions, and physical characteristics and understand the strategies for managing them. Waste management practices vary not only from country to country but also based on the type and composition of waste. Regardless of the geographical setting of the type of waste that needs to be managed, resource conservation is the governing principle in developing any waste management plan. Natural resource and energy conservation are achieved by managing materials more efficiently. Reduction, reuse, and recycling are primary strategies for effectively reducing waste quantities. Further, proper waste management decisions have increasing importance, as the consequences of these decisions have broader implications concerning greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. As a result, several public and private partnership programs are under development with the goal of reducing waste by adopting new and innovative waste management technologies. Because waste is an inevitable by-product of civilization, successfully implementing these initiatives will directly affect societies’ enhanced quality of life worldwide.


Chapter attributions:

Essentials of Environmental Science by Kamala Doršner is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Theis, T. & Tomkin, J. (Eds.). (2015). Sustainability: A comprehensive foundation. Retrieved from Available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (CC BY 4.0). Modified from original.


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Introduction to Environmental Sciences and Sustainability Copyright © 2023 by Emily P. Harris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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