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From Waste to Resource

2006 World Waste Survey

By Elisabeth Lacoste and Phillipe Chalmin

In the past, humans regarded their resources as rare, knowing that their demands outweighed supply. Everything available had to be used, and almost nothing went to waste. However, the Industrial Revolution embraced development and the seemingly unlimited use of renewable and nonrenewable resources. Little by little, though, wastes were seen as pollutants that had to be discreetly collected, hidden, or buried in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Each year the world produces as much waste as it does grain and steel. The world survey detailed in this book offers the most complete picture to date of the global waste economy, from collection through to recovery and recycling. It analyzes in depth three different methods of waste treatment: recycling, composting, and waste treatment. The authors deem it critical that changes in and the future of the waste management economy need to be viewed as part of the general issue of resource scarcity. Through effective and efficient resource recovery, global waste production offers the potential for equivalent amounts of energy and organic and secondary raw material resources.

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