Managing wastes

Controlling waste
Managing waste
Most human activities create waste. The majority of those wastes are not, in themselves, a potential threat to health but their correct management can help to minimize or avoid associated risks. There is no single "correct" way to collect, handle and dispose of wastes, but rather a range of options. These must be tailored to local circumstances, such as the amount and type of waste, regional and climate, and economic conditions. Minimization of both the quantity and toxicity of waste is an important first stage. Sound management of the remaining wastes will help to protect the local and global environment.

The best waste management strategy is one that keeps waste from being formed in the first place. Waste prevention may in some cases require significant changes to process, but it provides the greatest environmental and economic rewards. If waste generation is unavoidable in a process, then strategies that minimize the waste to the greatest extent possible should be pursued, such as recycling and reuse.

When wastes cannot be prevented or minimized through reuse or recycling, strategies to reduce their volume or toxicity through treatment can be pursued. While end-of-pipe strategies can sometimes reduce the amount of waste, they are not as effective as preventing the waste in the first place. The last strategy to consider is alternative disposal methods. Proper waste disposal is an essential component of an overall environmental management program; however, it is the least effective technique.

Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies