Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Solid Waste Disposal and Recycling, Environmental Impacts

  • Jess W. EverettEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_128

Definition of the Subject and Its Importance

A waste is anything humans do not want. Solid wastes are unwanted items that are not liquid or gas. Waste disposal involves removing a waste from the human sphere. This is often done by placing the waste in a landfill or burning it and placing the ashes in a landfill. Recycling involves processing a waste for use in manufacturing a new product. Reusing waste means using it again, either directly or after repair or improvement. Finally, source reduction involves not making waste in the first place.

Humans have disposed of waste since the creation of the species. Initially, this involved discarding an object at the point it became waste, in time and space. Where population centers developed, disposal became more involved. Waste had to be disposed of by combustion and/or deposition in an out-of-the-way place. In modern times, high population density, high waste generation, and toxic waste characteristics resulted in the need for sophisticated...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil and Environmental EngineeringRowan UniversityGlassboroUSA