Garbage. Waste. What’s in a Name?

Many people use the words “waste” and “garbage” interchangeably.

However, within the waste management profession, “waste” acutally means something different than “garbage.”  Waste is anything being thrown away, including Blue Box, GreenCart, Yard Waste, Household Hazardous Waste and Garbage materials.  Garbage is, well… Garbage.

That’s why the industry is called “waste management” — we’re responsible for managing a wide variety of wastes.

Now that might seem like splitting hairs, but it is important to note, especially as the philosophy of “zero waste” is gaining momentum around the world.

When a person or environmental organization promotes “zero waste,” what are they actually encouraging?

  • zero garbage (achieved through comprehensive reduction, reuse and recycling/composting programs), or
  • zero waste (nothing being thrown out due to reduction and reuse programs, and therefore there’s no need for Blue Box, GreenCart or Garbage collection).

What word do you use for Garbage in your house?

About John Watson

I'm the Director of Customer Success for ReCollect Systems. We're a technology company that specializes in waste management apps that delight residents. Previously, I was the Waste Diversion Educator Coordinator for Halton Region, where I implemented award winning communications and outreach programs.
This entry was posted in Blue Box, Compost, Disposal, E-waste, Garbage, GreenCart, Household Hazardous Waste, Landfill, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Garbage. Waste. What’s in a Name?

  1. Pingback: E-bike

  2. Envirothink says:

    Very thoughtful article, John. This provides helpful distinctions for consumers who may not be informed.

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