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Waste and wastes are terms for unwanted materials.

Examples include
municipal solid waste (household trash/refuse), hazardous waste, wastewater
(such as sewage, which contains bodily wastes, or surface runoff),
radioactive waste, and others.
The term is often subjective (because waste to one person is not necessarily
waste to another) and sometimes objectively inaccurate (for example, to send
scrap metals to a landfill is to inaccurately classify them as waste, because
they are recyclable).
The terms can have various connotations, (for example, "this spoiled food is
nothing but waste now") or a squandering of potential (for example, "growing
residential lawns in the desert is a waste of water").
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"

European Union
Under the Waste Framework Directive, the European Union defines
waste as "an object the holder discards, intends to discard or is
required to discard.
List of waste types
There are many waste types defined by modern systems of
waste management, notably including:
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)


Municipal solid waste consists of household waste, construction and
demolition debris, sanitation residue, and waste from streets. This
garbage is generated mainly from residential and commercial
complexes. With rising urbanization and change in lifestyle and food
habits, the amount of municipal solid waste has been increasing
rapidly and its composition changing.
In 1947 cities and towns in India generated an estimated 6 million
tonnes of solid waste, in 1997 it was about 48 million tonnes. More
than 25% of the municipal solid waste is not collected at all; 70% of
the Indian cities lack adequate capacity to transport it and there are
no sanitary landfills to dispose of the waste.
The existing landfills are neither well equipped or well managed and
are not lined properly to protect against contamination of soil and
Over the last few years, the consumer market has grown rapidly
leading to products being packed in cans, aluminum foils, plastics,
and other such no biodegradable items that cause incalculable harm
to the environment. In India, some municipal areas have banned the

Hazardous waste
Industrial and hospital waste is considered hazardous as they may contain toxic
substances. Certain types of household waste are also hazardous. Hazardous wastes
could be highly toxic to humans, animals, and plants; are corrosive, highly
inflammable, or explosive; and react when exposed to certain things e.g. gases.
India generates around 7 million tonnes of hazardous wastes every year, most of which
is concentrated in four states: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
Household waste that can be categorized as hazardous waste include old batteries, shoe
polish, paint tins, old medicines, and medicine bottles. Hospital waste
contaminated by chemicals used in hospitals is considered
These chemicals include formaldehyde and phenols, which are used
as disinfectants, and mercury, which is used in thermometers or
equipment that measure blood pressure. Most hospitals in India do
not have proper disposal facilities for these hazardous wastes.
In the industrial sector, the major generators of hazardous waste are
the metal, chemical, paper, pesticide, dye, refining, and rubber goods

Hospital waste is generated during the diagnosis, treatment, or
immunization of human beings or animals or in research activities in these
fields or in the production or testing of biologicals.
It may include wastes like sharps, soiled waste, disposables, anatomical
waste, cultures, discarded medicines, chemical wastes, etc. These are in
the form of disposable syringes, swabs, bandages, body fluids, human
excreta, etc. This waste is highly infectious and can be a serious threat to
human health if not managed in a scientific and discriminate manner.
It has been roughly estimated that of the 4 kg of waste generated in a
hospital at least 1 kg would be infected.
Surveys carried out by various agencies show that the health care
establishments in India are not giving due attention to their waste
management. After the notification of the Bio-medical Waste (Handling
and Management) Rules, 1998, these establishments are slowly
streamlining the process of waste segregation, collection, treatment, and
disposal. Many of the larger hospitals have either installed the treatment

Biomedical waste is waste that is either putrescible or potentially infectious.

Biomedical waste may also include waste associated with the generation of
biomedical waste that visually appears to be of medical or laboratory origin (e.g.,
packaging, unused bandages, infusion kits, etc.), as well research laboratory
waste containing biomolecules or organisms that are restricted from
environmental release.
Discarded sharps are considered biomedical waste whether they are
contaminated or not, due to the possibility of being contaminated with blood and
their propensity to cause injury when not properly contained and disposed of.
Biomedical waste is a type of biowaste.
Biomedical waste may be solid or liquid. Examples of infectious waste include
discarded blood, sharps, unwanted microbiological cultures and stocks,
identifiable body parts, other human or animal tissue, used bandages and
dressings, discarded gloves, other medical supplies that may have been in contact
with blood and body fluids, and laboratory waste that exhibits the characteristics
described above. Waste sharps include potentially contaminated used (and
unused discarded) needles, scalpels, lancets and other devices capable of
penetrating skin.

E-waste is a term used to cover almost all types of electrical and

electronic equipment (EEE) that has or could enter the waste stream.
Although e-waste is a general term, it can be considered to cover
TVs, computers, mobile phones, white goods (e.g. fridges, washing
machines, dryers etc), home entertainment and stereo systems, toys,
toasters, kettles almost any household or business item with
circuitry or electrical components with power or battery supply.
E-waste is growing exponentially simply because the markets in
which these products are produced are also growing rapidly as many
parts of the world cross over to the other side of the Digital Divide.
For example, between 2000 and 2005, the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) notes a 22% growth in
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in China
(1). Furthermore, China was the 6th largest ICT market in 2006, after
the US, Japan, Germany, UK and France
(2). This is astounding when one considers that just ten years ago,
under 1% of Chinas population owned a computer (

3)Computers are only one part of the e-waste stream though, as we see that
in the EU in 2005, fridges and other cooling and freezing appliances,
combined with large household appliances, accounted for 44% of total ewaste, according to UNUs Study supporting the 2008 Review of the Waste
Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive
(4). Rapid product innovations and replacement, especially in ICT and office
equipment, combined with the migration from analogue to digital
technologies and to flat-screen TVs and monitors, for example, are fuelling
the increase. Additionally, economies of scale have given way to lower
prices for many electrical goods, which has increased global demand for
many products that eventually end up as e-waste.
Using the personal computer (PC) as an example a normal Cathode Ray
Tube (CRT) computer monitor contains many valuable but also many toxic
substances. One of these toxic substances is cadmium (Cd), which is used in
rechargeable computer batteries and contacts and switches in older CRT
Cadmium can bio-accumulate in the environment and is extremely toxic to
humans, in particular adversely affecting kidneys and bones
(5). It is also one of the six toxic substances that has been banned in the
European Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. Beyond