Know the different types of waste.
Be able to describe the differences between HIC and LIC waste production.
Understand what causes these differences.
Describe the different sources of waste shown in Figure 1.
Good answers to questions about patterns should recognise that there are often exceptions or anomalies that do not conform to the general pattern. This is true in waste production. Japan, for example, only produces 400 kg per person per year, even though it is one of the richest HICs.
Construction and demolition 31%
Mining and quarrying
Types of waste and its production
Waste is deﬁned by the European Union as ‘any substance or object that the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard’. It is also referred to in different places as rubbish, trash, garbage or junk, depending on the type of material. In the UK, the government classiﬁes waste as either ‘hazardous’ (waste that poses a risk to human health) or ‘non-hazardous’. Waste comes from a variety of different sources. As you can see from Figure 1, the main source is from the construction and demolition of buildings. But in this chapter we will be focusing on domestic (household) waste.
The differences between LICs’ and HICs’ waste production We all produce waste of one sort or another and it has become an increasingly important issue in many countries as they decide how it should be disposed of.
There are many different types of domestic waste. Figure 2 shows the main types of waste produced by households in the USA. This pattern is fairly typical for HICs, with paper and cardboard – much of it newspapers and packaging – being the main component. Food waste is also signiﬁcant, much of it being leftovers from meals.
HICs produce more waste than LICs – typically about ﬁve times as much. It is estimated that in