WHAT IS WASTE? - DIGGING A LITTLE DEEPER
A natural part of the life cycle, waste occurs when any organism returns substances to the environment. Living things take in raw materials and excrete wastes that are recycled by other living organisms. However, humans produce an additional flow of material residues that would overload the capacity of natural recycling processes, so these wastes must be managed in order to reduce their effect on our aesthetics, health, or the environment.
Solid and fluid, hazardous and non-toxic wastes are generated in our households, offices, schools, hospitals, and industries. No society is immune from day-to-day issues associated with waste disposal. How waste is handled often depends on its source and characteristics, as well as any local, state, and federal regulations that govern its management. Practices generally differ for residences and industries, in urban and rural areas, and for developed and developing countries.