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Waste represents the loss of both material and energy resources. Waste quantities can be considered an indicator of how efficiently society uses raw materials, because excessive waste generation is a symptom of inefficient production processes, low durability of goods and unsustainable consumption patterns.

The key environmental impacts of waste can be summarised as: use of land for landfills and leaching of harmful substances from landfills; air pollution and toxic residues from incinerators; water pollution and generation of secondary waste streams from recycling plants; increased road transport.

The challenge of increasing waste quantities cannot be solved in a sustainable way by efficient waste management and recycling alone. There is an urgent need for integration of waste management into a strategy for sustainable development, where waste prevention, reduction of resource depletion and energy consumption and minimisation of emissions at the source are given high priority. Waste must be analysed and handled as an integrated part of the total material flow through the society.nd E

Additional information

Bibliographic Reference: EUR: 19721 EN (2000), 114pp, Euro: free of charge
Availability: Available from Documentation Service JRC Ispra (IT) Fax: +39-0332-7858182
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