The Waste Management Hierarchy
The waste management hierarchy provides an order of preference for implementing waste management options. The primary objective of the waste management hierarchy is to reduce potential hazard to human health and the environment by avoiding or minimising the production of wastes. Secondary objectives include the efficient use and conservation of resources, a reduction in the need for disposal, and improved cost efficiency through reduced waste disposal and material costs. The
hierarchy is as follows:
- Energy recovery
- Repository storage (for future treatment/recovery)
- Disposal/permanent containment
Because of the hazardous nature of controlled wastes, strong emphasis should be placed on reducing the amount of waste at the source. Reduction or elimination of waste maximises resource conservation, promotes business efficiency, saves money, and protects the environment and peoples' amenity and safety. Waste generation does not have to be an inevitable part of business or our domestic lives, rather it is a missed opportunity to use resources more efficiently.