- Date: 13th century
- 1 a : a sparsely settled or barren region : desert
- b : uncultivated land
- c : a broad and empty expanse (as of water)
- 2 : the act or an instance of wasting : the state of being wasted
- 3 a : loss through breaking down of bodily tissue
- b : gradual loss or decrease by use, wear, or decay
Waste (also referred to as rubbish, trash, refuse, garbage, or junk) is unwanted or unusable materials.
Waste is directly linked to human development, both technologically and socially. The composition of different wastes have varied over time and location, with industrial development and innovation being directly linked to waste materials. Examples of this include plastics and nuclear technology. Some components of waste have economical value and can be recycled once correctly recovered.
Waste is sometimes a subjective concept, because items that some people discard may have value to others. It is widely recognized that waste materials are a valuable resource, whilst there is debate as to how this value is best realized.