AskDefine | Define wasteful

Dictionary Definition

wasteful adj
1 inefficient in use of time and effort and materials; "a clumsy and wasteful process"; "wasteful duplication of effort"; "uneconomical ebb and flow of power" [syn: uneconomical]
2 tending to squander and waste [ant: thrifty]
3 laying waste; "when wasteful war shall statues overturn"- Shakespeare

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Inclined to waste or squander money or resources.

Extensive Definition

Waste, is an unwanted or undesired material or substance. It is also referred to as rubbish, trash, garbage, or junk depending upon the type of material and the regional terminology. In living organisms, waste relates to unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from them.
Waste management is the human control of the collection, treatment and disposal of different wastes. This is in order to reduce the negative impacts waste has on environment and society.
Waste is directly linked to the human development, both technologically and socially. The composition of different wastes have varied over time and location. With industrial development and innovation being directly linked to waste materials. Examples of this include plastics and nuclear technology. Some components of waste have economical value and can be recycled once correctly recovered.
Biodegradable waste such as food waste or sewage, is broken down naturally by microorganisms either aerobically or anaerobically. If the disposal of biodegradable waste is not controlled it can cause a number of wider problems including contributing to the release of greenhouse gases and can impact upon human health via encouragement of pathogens.
It is difficult to define specifically what a waste is. Items that some people discard have value to others. It is widely recognised that waste materials are a valuable resource, whilst there is debate as to how this value is best realised. Governments need to define what waste is in order that it can be safely and legally managed. Different definitions need to be combined in order to ensure the safe and legal disposal of the waste.

Environmental impact

Many different types of waste have negative impacts upon the wider environment.
Waste pollution is considered a serious threat by many and can broadly be defined as any pollution associated with waste and waste management practices. Typical materials that are found in household waste which have specific environmental impacts with them include biodegradable wastes, batteries, aerosols, oils, acids and fluorescent tubes.
As a nation, Americans generate more waste than any other nation in the world with 4.5 pounds of municipal solid waste (MSW) per person per day, 55 percent of which is contributed as residential garbage. The remaining 45 percent of waste in the U.S.'s ‘waste stream' comes from manufacturing, retailing, and commercial trade in the U.S. economy .
Biodegradable waste is of specific concern as breaks down in landfills to form methane, a potent greenhouse gas. If this gas is not prevented from entering the atmosphere, by implication, it contributes to climate change.
Littering can be considered the most visible form of solid waste pollution. The act of littering for the most part constitutes disposing of waste inappropriately, typically in public places. Littering itself may or may not be an intentional action.
Other forms of pollution associated with waste materials include illegal dumping and leaching. Illegal dumping of flytipping often involves unregulated disposal of materials on private or public land. Remoted sites with road access coupled with limited surveillance often provides the perfect opportunity for this form of dumping which often goes unpunished and leaves others (such as the community or developer) to properly dispose of the waste.
Leaching is a process by which contaminants from solid waste enter soil and often ground water systems contaminating them.


The European Union defines waste as an object the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard is waste under the Waste Framework Directive (European Directive 75/442/EC as amended). Once a substance or object has become waste, it will remain waste until it has been fully recovered and no longer poses a potential threat to the environment or to human health."'
The UK's Environmental Protection Act 1990 indicated waste includes any substance which constitutes a scrap material, an effluent or other unwanted surplus arising from the application of any process or any substance or article which requires to be disposed of which has been broken, worn out, contaminated or otherwise spoiled; this is supplemented with anything which is discarded otherwise dealt with as if it were waste shall be presumed to be waste unless the contrary is proved. This definition was amended by the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 defining waste as:
"any substance or object which the producer or the person in possession of it, discards or intends or is required to discard but with exception of anything excluded from the scope of the Waste Directive".


There is a cultural dimension to waste. Wasting time, money, or food involves moral judgements that carry a great deal of weight in human interaction. Attitudes to this wastage differ between different societies.
For example, food may be wasted in one part of the world while there may be famine elsewhere. Chefs from a particular culinary tradition may prize cuts of meat that chefs in other traditions will dispose of. A parent may regard a child's career in a rock band as a waste of their education, though this opinion may not necessarily be shared by the child. The frivolous expenditure of money may be described as "wasting money" independently of the economic underpinning of the transactions concerned.
wasteful in Arabic: قمامة
wasteful in Guarani: Yty
wasteful in Aymara: T'una
wasteful in Bulgarian: Боклук
wasteful in Czech: Odpad
wasteful in Welsh: Sbwriel
wasteful in Danish: Affald
wasteful in German: Abfall
wasteful in Spanish: Basura
wasteful in Esperanto: Rubo
wasteful in Persian: زباله
wasteful in French: Déchet
wasteful in Galician: Lixo
wasteful in Korean: 쓰레기
wasteful in Croatian: Otpad
wasteful in Indonesian: Sampah
wasteful in Italian: Rifiuti
wasteful in Hebrew: פסולת
wasteful in Lombard: Rumenta
wasteful in Hungarian: Hulladék
wasteful in Dutch: Afval (vuilnis)
wasteful in Japanese: 廃棄物
wasteful in Norwegian: Avfall
wasteful in Norwegian Nynorsk: Søppel
wasteful in Polish: Odpady
wasteful in Portuguese: Resíduo
wasteful in Quechua: Q'upa
wasteful in Russian: Мусор
wasteful in Simple English: Waste
wasteful in Slovak: Odpad
wasteful in Slovenian: Odpadek
wasteful in Serbian: Отпад
wasteful in Serbo-Croatian: Otpad
wasteful in Finnish: Roska
wasteful in Swedish: Avfall
wasteful in Thai: ขยะมูลฝอย
wasteful in Turkish: Çöp
wasteful in Ukrainian: Відходи
wasteful in Venetian: Scoazse
wasteful in Yiddish: מיסט
wasteful in Contenese: 垃圾
wasteful in Chinese: 垃圾

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1