Waste Management Overview

As long as humans exist, there will be waste generated. That means this discussion is not going away soon, even though with technology, there are bound to be some changes in the way we deal with waste. For now, waste management is approached in three main ways, and each of these depends on the community in question.

Source reduction

As explained in the previous page, this involves ways that prevent the creation of waste in the first place. Individuals, communities, businesses and industries all have a role to play here. The benefits are immense and far outweigh the benefits of other waste management methods. Environmentally, we save energy because less energy is needed to produce, retrieve, process, and transport the stuff that ends up as waste, reducing our greenhouse emissions. Additionally, there are fewer emissions from combustion facilities, and also less methane from landfills. Most importantly, many of the raw materials needed to produce things such as paper and plastic come from trees. Source reduction ensures that natural resources are preserved.
Economically, we save money by reducing waste collection, transportation and disposal costs.


After source reduction, waste recycling in the usually considered. This involves the collection, sorting, grading and processing of recyclable materials into new materials again. For example, old newspapers can be processed into newsprint (the kind of paper used in printing newspapers) and used again. Recyclable materials include paper, plastics, glass and aluminium. These materials tend to lose their quality if they go through recycling too many times. The environmental benefits of source reduction also apply to recycle. Additionally, recycling plants offer jobs and income to the people in the communities.


This is the toughest part of waste management. , It is the part that often poses and brings environmental problems. When waste is not recycled, they may be sent to the landfills, incinerated, combusted to energy or composted. These are all major processes with consequences if they are not done properly, and they also involve some serious equipment. This means it is usually funded or operated by the state or government.