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.