The hierarchy of waste management options determines the priority of treatments and forms of recovery of the waste.
The reduction of waste occupies a place at the top of the waste management hierarchy. We must encourage quantitative and qualitative reduction of the waste by promoting the minimization of the quantity produce, as well as its hazardous characteristics. We should not only reduce, but minimize the quantity of waste that is collected and transported and, whenever possible, reduce the harm caused by the waste we produce.
Reuse of waste can be achieved by choosing products, packages and other materials that can be used several times.
Recycling waste enables it to be used for other purposes and, therefore, preventing it from being disposed in landfills, incinerators or by any another costly process of disposal.
Waste should not be considered rubbish but a resource. Thus, recovery is the next level in the waste management hierarchy, where the waste is transformed in raw material intended for other uses. This process is fundamental for the sustainability of resources.
Elimination is the final disposal of waste. It must be used as a last resort and only after confirming that the waste cannot be reused, recycled or recovered. According to the type of waste being sent for disposal, the most common destination is stabilization and disposal at a monitored landfill, and the thermal treatments (incineration and co-incineration).