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Summary Article: waste from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Material, substance, or by-product discarded as being no longer useful. Waste is usually classified according to the source that produces it. Examples include household waste, commercial waste, industrial waste (which often contains hazardous chemicals), medical waste (which may contain pathogens that cause disease), and nuclear waste (which is radioactive). Waste disposal is a major environmental issue and is always considered as part of sustainable development practices.

There has been a tendency towards increase in the amount of waste generated per person in industrialized countries, particularly through the growth in packaging and cheap disposable products, creating a ‘throwaway society’. In 2010, the USA produced 250 million tonnes of municipal solid waste, an average of 2 kg/4.4 lb of waste per person per day. In 2012, the European Union generated a total of 2,500 million tonnes of waste through domestic and industrial activity.

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Environment: EU Focus on Waste Management

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