Organic waste management is the collection, transport, processing or disposal, managing and monitoring of organic waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and the process is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics. Waste management is a distinct practice from resource recovery which focuses on delaying the rate of consumption of natural resources. All wastes materials, whether they are solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive fall within the remit of waste management
Organic waste management practices can differ for developed and developing nations, for urban and rural areas, and for residential and industrial producers. Management for non-hazardous waste residential and institutional waste in metropolitan areas is usually the responsibility of local government authorities, while management for non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste is usually the responsibility of the generator subject to local, national or international controls.
Waste can be regarded as a human concept as there appears to be no such thing as waste in nature. The waste products created by a natural process or organism quickly becomes the raw products used by other processes and organisms.
Recycling is predominant, therefore production and decomposition are well balanced and nutrient cycles continuously support the next cycles of production. This is the so-called circle of life and is a strategy clearly related to ensuring stability and sustainability in natural systems. On the other hand there are man-made systems which emphasize the economic value of materials and energy, and where production and consumption are the dominant economic activities. Such systems tend to be highly destructive of the environment as they require massive consumption of natural capital and energy, return the end product (waste) to the environment in a form that damages the environment and require more natural capital be consumed in order to feed the system. Where resources and space are finite (the Earth is not getting any bigger) this is ultimately not sustainable.
The presence of waste is an indication of overconsumption and that materials are not being used efficiently. This is carelessly reducing the Earths capacity to supply new raw materials in the future. The capacity of the natural environment to absorb and process these materials is also under stress. Valuable resources in the form of matter and energy are lost during waste disposal, requiring that a greater burden be placed on ecosystems to provide these. The main problem is the sheer volume of waste being produced and how we deal with it