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Glossary of terms

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Waste

Waste is generated at various stages of human activities and its composition and amount largely depend on consumption patterns and on industrial and economic structures. Its impact on the environment and on quality of life is mainly related to air, water and soil contamination, but also includes space occupation, odours, noise and aesthetic damage.
 
Municipal waste:
  • waste collected and treated by or for municipalities; it covers waste from households, waste from commerce and trade, office buildings, institutions and small businesses, yard and garden waste, street sweepings, the contents of litter containers, and market cleansing waste; the definition excludes waste from municipal sewage networks and treatment, as well as municipal construction and demolition waste.
 
Nuclear waste:
  • annual spent fuel arisings in nuclear power plants of OECD countries; data represent only the share of nuclear electricity in the energy supply, not the waste produced by other nuclear sources.
  • the impact of nuclear waste on humans and the environment depends on the level of radioactivity and on the conditions under which the waste is handled, treated, stored and disposed of; radioactive waste also arises from decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, and from other activities using isotopes, such as scientific research and medical activities.
 
(OECD - Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development)