Waste can be simply defined as unwanted or useless materials.
Litter refers to waste disposed of in an improper manner.
Waste attracts rodents and insects which harbour gastrointestinal parasites, yellow fever, worms, the plague and other conditions for humans. Exposure to hazardous wastes, particularly when they are burned, can cause various other diseases including cancers. Waste can contaminate surface water, groundwater, soil, and air which causes more problems for humans, other species, and ecosystems. Waste treatment and disposal produces significant green house gas emissions, notably methane, which are contributing significantly to global climate change.
The Waste Management Strategy for Gibraltar focuses on the most sustainable and self-sufficient methods of handling and end disposal of our waste streams. This is governed to a certain extent by EU policy legislation. EU policy on waste is focusing on a shift from landfill to recycling. Waste minimisation has been the preferred method for waste treatment locally.
Government policy on waste has, to date, aimed at waste reduction, recycling and sustainable end disposal. The recycling of two specific waste streams, glass and tins, has been underway since 2008. Since the end of 2012 the introduction of two additional waste streams have come into effect. These are the recycling of paper and plastics, including tetra boxes. One very important point which needs to be realised is that recycling of waste is not new to Gibraltar. The recycling of different types of waste occurs through our current waste disposal methods. The landfill site in Los Barrios, which receives Gibraltar's domestic waste, has a sorting and recycling process for the waste it receives. Our waste is therefore being recycled to some extent but not in Gibraltar. In addition to this, other waste streams separated and sent for recycling include:
The Waste Framework Directive sets out a broad framework for waste management policy and legislation in the European Union (EU). The principle objectives are: