The definition of waste varies by region but generally waste is any discarded, rejected, abandoned, unwanted or surplus matter whether or not it is intended for sale, recycling, reprocessing, recovery or purification by a separate operation from that which produced the matter, or anything declared by regulation or by an environment protection policy to be a waste.
This is determined at the place of generation and is not dependent on whether
- it is wanted;
- it is intended to, or capable of, being re-used, recycled or recovered;
- has value or may be sold or traded; nor
- the recipient asserts that the waste is a resource.
The material remains a waste until action has been taken to fully recover, reprocess or purify the waste. A recovered product needs to meet a recognised and agreed specification that fully addresses human health and environmental impacts and is a suitable and beneficial alternative to virgin materials.