8.1  The waste hierarchy and the ‘3 Rs’

  • Think back to Study Session 1. What do you remember about the waste hierarchy?

  • The waste hierarchy lists the different ways of dealing with wastes, starting with the most beneficial and working down to ‘disposal’, which is the worst way of getting rid of waste.

Many versions of the hierarchy have been published, but they all present the same message. The version of the hierarchy used in this module is shown in Figure 8.1. Reduction, reuse and recycling were first defined in Study Session 1 and are explained more fully in the following sections. The fourth option, recovery, is also explained here. The final option, disposal is about finding a place to get rid of wastes that cannot be treated by any of these alternatives. Waste disposal is the topic of Study Session 10.

Figure 8.1  The waste hierarchy.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 8

8.2  Waste reduction