Reducing the amount of waste produced by communities and industry, and its subsequent recycle or disposal, is increasingly becoming a major priority for government, industry, and for society as a whole. Customer concerns over the amounts of packaging waste which accompanies sold goods, in particular those made of non-renewable materials, has prompted major innovation in packaging types and materials, as well as efforts to reduce the amount of material involved. In addition, the gradual reduction in landfill resources available to accept waste continues to diminish, while the costs of disposal continue to increase. Waste management is now one of the most regulated community and industrial activities.
Other types of waste have to be treated in different ways:
- Solid wastes from industrial production, and from municipal plants, have traditionally been either spread to land, sent to landfill, or incinerated. Innovation in technology now offers some alternatives such as re-use, recycling, or conversion into different materials for new uses
- Liquid wastes from industry are generally subject to some form of treatment before releasing them into the environment. Legislation increasingly regulates the quality of such wastes to protect communities and the environment from pollution.