Chapter 21: Solid and Hazardous Waste


1. Solid waste represents pollution and unnecessary waste of resources, and hazard waste contributes to pollution, natural capital degradation, health problems, and premature deaths.
2. A sustainable approach to solid waste is first to reduce it, then to reuse or recycle it, and finally to safely dispose of what is left.
3. Reusing items decreases the use of matter and energy resources and reduces pollution and natural capital degradation; recycling does so to a lesser degree.
4. Technologies for burning and burying solid wastes are well developed, but burning contributes to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and buried wastes eventually contribute to pollution and land degradation.
5. A sustainable approach to hazardous waste is first to produce less of it, then to reuse or recycle it, then to convert it to less hazardous materials, and finally, to safely store what is left.
6. Shifting to a low-waste society requires individuals and businesses to reduce resource use and to reuse and recycle wastes at local, national, and global levels.

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