As the world’s population size has grown, waste generation has increased rapidly. This has had a significant effect on humanity, wildlife and the environment.
As a result, governments have tried to replace traditional disposal methods, which result in pollution, with sustainable alternatives. Recycling rates keep increasing, yet projections indicate that we will soon be producing more waste than ever before.
In this briefing, waste generation and different disposal methods will be considered. We will conclude that, while landfills were traditionally popular, their negative side-effects have led to a move towards incineration and recycling. While the latter is a sustainable waste disposal method, it cannot limit waste generation indefinitely. It can only reduce avoidable waste levels, but a large proportion of waste is unavoidable.
We argue that the total accumulated waste levels can only be minimised if population levels are stabilised or reduced. In the meantime, sustainability policies and technological advancements can reduce the generated waste per capita, and restore some of the damage that is already caused by excessive waste levels.