International Regulation, Comparative and Contextual Perspectives
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Chapter 2: Five certainties on waste
There are five certainties on waste. The first is what it is, that is, waste involves solid material (that may be liquid, but should be heavier than air) that is unwanted and has no further use. The second certainty is that as the disposal of waste increases, the trend is to find the cheapest way to dispose of it. Often, this method involves it being placed near poor communities. Following on from the recognition that waste often involves social, economic and environmental costs, the third certainty arises – that the trade in waste has often become international, and the global community has facilitated this. The fourth certainty is that individuals, private enterprises, and policy makers want to reduce waste. These goals may be either national or international. The final certainty is that the amount of waste being produced is increasing. Indeed, all of the five waste streams (wastes which come from the human body; wastes from everyday life which are common; and wastes which are hazardous, nuclear and industrial) are expanding, not shrinking, in production. For the purpose of law, the defining feature of waste is that the producer of the waste no longer wants to possess it. For example, the Waste Framework Directive of the European Commission defines ‘waste’ as any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard.
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