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Waste(s) is a pejorative term for unwanted materials. The term can be described as subjective and inaccurate because waste to one person is not waste to another.
Litter refers to waste disposed of improperly.
United Nations Environment Programme 
According to the Basel Convention,
"'Wastes' are substances or objects, which are disposed of or are intended to be disposed of or are required to be disposed of by the provisions of national law"
United Nations Statistics Division, Glossary of Environment Statistics 
"Wastes are materials that are not prime products (that is products produced for the market) for which the initial user has no further use in terms of his/her own purposes of production, transformation or consumption, and of which he/she wants to dispose. Wastes may be generated during the extraction of raw materials, the processing of raw materials into intermediate and final products, the consumption of final products, and other human activities. Residuals recycled or reused at the place of generation are excluded."
European Union 
- Municipal Waste includes Household waste, Commercial waste, and Demolition waste
- Hazardous Waste includes Industrial waste
- Bio-medical Waste includes Clinical waste
- Special Hazardous waste includes Radioactive waste, explosives waste, and Electronic waste (e-waste)
There are many issues that surround reporting waste. It is most commonly measured by size or weight, and there is a stark difference between the two. For example, organic waste is much heavier when it is wet, and plastic or glass bottles can have different weights but be the same size. On a global scale it is difficult to report waste because countries have different definitions of waste and what falls into waste categories, as well as different ways of reporting. Based on incomplete reports from its parties, the Basel Convention estimated 338 million tonnes of waste was generated in 2001. For the same year, OECD estimated 4 billion tonnes from its member countries. Despite these inconsistencies, waste reporting is still useful on a small and large scale to determine key causes and locations, and to find ways of preventing, minimizing, recovering, treating, and disposing waste.
Environmental costs 
Waste attracts rodents and insects, which harbour gastrointestinal parasites, yellow fever, worms, the plague and other conditions for humans, and exposure to hazardous wastes, particularly when they are burned, can cause various other diseases including cancers. Waste can contaminate surface water, groundwater, soil, and air which causes more problems for humans, other species, and ecosystems. Waste treatment and disposal produces significant green house gas (GHG) emissions, notably methane, which are contributing significantly to global climate change.
Social costs 
Waste management is a significant environmental justice issue. Many of the environmental burdens cited above are more often borne by marginalized groups, such as racial minorities, women, and residents of developing nations. NIMBY (not in my back yard) is the opposition of residents to a proposal for a new development because it is close to them. However, the need for expansion and siting of waste treatment and disposal facilities is increasing worldwide. There is now a growing market in the transboundary movement of waste, and although most waste that flows between countries goes between developed nations, a significant amount of waste is moved from developed to developing nations.
Economic costs 
The economic costs of managing waste are high, and are often paid for by municipal governments; money can often be saved with more efficiently designed collection routes, modifying vehicles, and with public education. Environmental policies such as pay as you throw can reduce the cost of management and reduce waste quantities. Waste recovery (that is, recycling, reuse) can curb economic costs because it avoids extracting raw materials and often cuts transportation costs. The location of waste treatment and disposal facilities often has an impact on property values due to noise, dust, pollution, unsightliness, and negative stigma. The informal waste sector consists mostly of waste pickers who scavenge for metals, glass, plastic, textiles, and other materials and then trade them for a profit. This sector can significantly alter or reduce waste in a particular system, but other negative economic effects come with the disease, poverty, exploitation, and abuse of its workers.
Education and awareness 
Education and awareness in the area of waste and waste management is increasingly important from a global perspective of resource management. The Talloires Declaration is a declaration for sustainability concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of environmental pollution and degradation, and the depletion of natural resources. Local, regional, and global air pollution; accumulation and distribution of toxic wastes; destruction and depletion of forests, soil, and water; depletion of the ozone layer and emission of "green house" gases threaten the survival of humans and thousands of other living species, the integrity of the earth and its biodiversity, the security of nations, and the heritage of future generations. Several universities have implemented the Talloires Declaration by establishing environmental management and waste management programs, e.g. the waste management universityproject. University and vocational education are promoted by various organizations, e.g. WAMITAB and Chartered Institution of Wastes Management.
- Vegetable waste being dumped in a market in Hyderabad
- Weapon scraps
- Agobox; Bio-medical Waste
- Hospital waste
See also 
- Environmental dumping
- Life cycle assessment
- List of waste management acronyms
- List of waste types
- Waste by country
- Waste collection
- Waste collection vehicle
- Waste converter
- Waste management
- “Basel Convention.” 1989. www.basel.int
- “Glossary of Environment Statistics.” 1997. UNSD. 1997. unstats.un.org
- European Directive 75/442/EC, as amended
- "Solid Waste Management." 2005. United Nations Environment Programme. Chapter III: Waste Quantities and Characteristics, 31-38. unep.or.jp
- “International Waste Activities.” 2003. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 12 Oct 2009. epa.gov
- "Improving Recycling Markets." OECD Environment Program. Paris: OECD, 2006. oecd.org
- Diaz, L. et al. Solid Waste Management, Volume 2. UNEP/Earthprint, 2006.
- Wolsink, M. "Entanglement of interests and motives: Assumptions behind the NIMBY-theory on Facility Siting." Urban Studies 31.6 (1994): 851-866.
- Ray, A. "Waste management in developing Asia: Can trade and cooperation help?" The Journal of Environment & Development 17.1 (2008): 3-25.
- “Muck and brass: The waste business smells of money.” The Economist. 2009 02 28. pp. 10-12.
- Carlsson Reich, M. "Economic assessment of municipal waste management systems – case studies using a combination of life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC)". Journal of Cleaner Production 13 (2005): 253-263.
- Wilson, D.C.; Velis, C.; Cheeseman, C. "Role of informal sector recycling in waste management in developing countries." Habitat International 30 (2006): 797-808.
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- Waste at the Open Directory Project
- Cambio verde: waste-food exchange project in Curitiba, Brazil
- Resource Productivity and Waste at the OECD