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The What Why and How of Waste

Updated on September 18, 2015

What is considered Waste?

Waste is only a terminology, a human concept!

Where ever man lives, produce is the outcome generated through a process on meeting the demands put forth on nature. When this produce is consumed or utilised, leftover is the outcome of consumption. This leftover is what many individuals term waste!

In other words, waste can be termed as any substance or object a holder discards or intends to discard when viewed unfit for further consumption. This substance fit for disposal by one individual may further have natural properties which contain the elements of wealth for another individual. The problem does not lie in producing waste, as one man’s waste is another man wealth which ultimately is then absorbed back into the earth for processing. The cause to the problem lies when consumption exceeds the very balance of ecology’s ability towards processing the residual outcome.

Waste is a by-product of unsustained development. Sustainable development talks about increasing the availability of natural resources for future generations to benefit, but as a result of engaging into unsustained developmental practices, the current availability of resources are being depleted far more faster than they can be revived through the natural process of environmental decomposition.

So Where does our rubbish go??

Why does the problem exist?

Only on conceptualising what waste is, can one relate to why the problem exists. The reference of ‘waste’ itself is an effect to a mutli demensional problem, and the cause would be excessive exploitation of natural resources to meet the consumers demands in the market.

The problem arises when man’s production capacity accelerates to meet the demands of human consumption, and this process exceeds the normal rate of the decomposition process that nature engages in.The result hence is the natural resources are depleting far more faster than the rate of regeneration.

As waste does not disappear with the flip of a garbage-disposal switch or the flush of a toilet, it gives rise to mismanaged waste which is often dumped on roads, in water bodies and so on, which in turn is consumed by cattle straying on footpaths and aquatic life in the waters and ultimately ending up in our stomachs. Ever thought of It?? Now, our very own waste it what we perceive as a threat to human society! Once the problem is created there is no means to solving it unless we tackle the problem head on by reducing consumption which most people consider as unpractical.

When production exceeds the processing capacity of ecology, the consequence to arise is instability! This instability leads to what we call garbage or rubbish. The only means of remedial intervention is by engaging in the use of effective waste management techniques. Waste management too is based on a very simple understanding of segregation at source.

In today’s modern society, production engages into manufacturing of complex goods which brings about complexity in the decomposition process. Hence, waste management techniques are assisted in breaking down the complexities by engaging into reuse and recycle methodologies.

How can we Deal with Waste?

Since population is ever increasing, a result of tremendous pressure is being exerted on nature. This imbalance of an increase in the carrying capacity is one of the reasons it’s become very difficult to solve the issue of garbage.

One of the most effective strategies is to tackling waste at source, that is by engaging in the practice of waste minimization. There are three R's to understand this strategy.

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

If consumption can be reduced at source, then the assisted methods of recycling and reusing does not arise! Hence the solution here would be to alter the negative attitude of greed by reinforcing it with an increase on taxes of non-durable, non-recyclable and environmentally harmful goods which would impact the negative behavior of excessive consumption. This would further reduce or at least put a limit on excessive greedy consumption. The higher taxes put on these goods would be then used to compensate towards the environmental damage.

Waste Management: Hierarchy
Waste Management: Process
Waste Management: Methods
Incineration (energy from waste)
Landfill sites
Disposal in landfill sites/ Inceneration/ Recycling

Hierarchy of Waste

A bottom up approach of waste minimization
A bottom up approach of waste minimization

Process of Waste Management

Methods/Modes of Waste Management

Do you have a clue where your garbage goes?

See results


It is hence, a must we show concern towards the ecological impact of the environment as our life’s are not separate, rather integrated and connected as one. An individual polluting the environment would inflict damage unto others and oneself in turn!!

My motto goes to say.. ‘How healthy the environment today is, will determine how healthy we are tomorrow.’


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    • profile image

      Jennifer, Mumbai, India 3 years ago

      My housekeepers think me petty when I ask them to go easy on throwing our plastic bags.. Am sure going to show them the video tomorrow when they come to work.. Thank you.. Clive.. Well written & all the best..

    • Clive Paiva profile image

      Clive Paiva 3 years ago from Goa

      Thank you Maria!! :)

    • profile image

      Maria Ferreiera 3 years ago

      You have done an excellent research and written your article very well. Excellent thoughts and an inspiration to make the world a better place for the following generations

    • Clive Paiva profile image

      Clive Paiva 3 years ago from Goa

      Thank you Cynthia! :)

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      Cynthia Dsouza 3 years ago

      Well executed article ,knowledgeable and hope we try to save our earth for the future generation and make a difference :)

    • Clive Paiva profile image

      Clive Paiva 3 years ago from Goa

      Thank you!! :)

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 3 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Very interesting article.

    • Clive Paiva profile image

      Clive Paiva 3 years ago from Goa

      Thank you Schneider!! :)

      Much appreciated!

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      Howard Schneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      It is vitally important for all of us to take your advice and take personal responsibility for reducing our waste and managing it responsibly. Excellent Hub, Clive.