Waste Law and Legal Definition

Waste has various meanings, depending on the context. When used in relation to a landlord tenant relationship refers to the permanent harm caused to the real property by a tenant. The harm caused by the tenant may last for years and affect the future generation of the landlord. It is an improper use of land by an individual in rightful possession of the land. The four common types of waste are voluntary, permissive, ameliorating, and equitable waste.

In a financial context, courts have defined "waste" as a transaction in which "'no business person of ordinary, sound judgment could conclude that the party has received adequate consideration.'" The business judgment rule, which protects both directors and transactions from judicial scrutiny, does not extend its protections to acts or transactions found to have involved waste or gifting of corporate assets.

Waste can also refer to unwanted substances that people generally tend to dump. Depending upon the regional terminology it is also referred to as rubbish, trash, garbage, or junk. Waste is actually a subjective concept, because things that some people discard may be of value to others. It is a natural part of the ecological cycle. It is created when living organisms take in materials and excrete them after use. Waste can be recycled by other living organisms. Discarded home appliances, kitchen waste, sewage sludge, manufacturing waste, packaging waste, old paint containers, biological waste, and hospital waste are all examples of waste.

Waste is classified into different types based upon their sources and nature. Solid waste, biodegradable waste, hazardous waste, medical waste, e-waste, yard waste, construction and demolition waste, agricultural waste, and mining waste are the different types of waste.

Following is an example of a state law dealing with waste:

D.C. Code § 8-901:

(2A) "Hazardous waste" means any waste or combination of wastes of a solid, liquid, contained gaseous, or semisolid form which, because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics, as established by the Mayor, may:

(A) Cause, or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating, reversible, illness; or
(B) Pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, or disposed of, or otherwise managed. Such wastes include, but are not limited to, those which are toxic, carcinogenic, flammable, irritants, strong sensitizers, or which generate pressure through decomposition, heat, or other means, as well as containers and receptacles previously used in the transportation, storage, use or application of the substances described as a hazardous waste.
(3) "Mayor" means the Mayor of the District of Columbia.
(3A) "Medical waste" means solid waste from medical research, medical procedures, or pathological, industrial, or medical laboratories. Medical waste includes, but is not limited to, the following types of solid waste:
(A) Cultures and stocks of infectious agents and associated biologicals, including cultures from medical and pathological laboratories, cultures and stocks of infectious agents from research and industrial laboratories, wastes from the production of biologicals, discarded live and attenuated vaccines, and culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures;
(B) Pathological waste, including tissues, organs, and body parts that are removed during surgery or autopsy;
(C) Human blood waste and products of blood, including serum, plasma, and other blood components;
(D) Sharps that have been used in patient care or medical research, or industrial laboratories, including hypodermic needles, syringes, pasteur pipettes, broken glass, and scalpel blades;
(E) Contaminated animal carcasses, body parts, and bedding of animals that were exposed to infectious agents during research, production of biologicals, or testing of pharmaceuticals;
(F) Waste from surgery or autopsy that was in contact with infectious agents, including soiled dressings, sponges, drapes, lavage tubes, drainage sets, underpads, and surgical gloves;
(G) Laboratory waste from medical, pathological, pharmaceutical, or other research, commercial, or industrial laboratories that was in contact with infectious agents, including slides, and cover slips, disposable gloves, laboratory coats, and aprons;
(H) Dialysis waste that was in contact with the blood of patients undergoing hemodialysis, including contaminated disposable equipment and supplies such as tubing, filters, disposable sheets, towels, gloves, aprons, and laboratory coats;
(I) Discarded medical equipment and parts that were in contact with infectious agents;
(J) Biological waste and discarded materials contaminated with blood, excretion, exudates and secretion from human beings or animals who are isolated to protect others from communicable diseases; and
(K) Such other waste material that results from the administration of medical care to a patient by a health care provider and is found by the Mayor to pose a threat to human health or the environment.
(4) "Motor vehicle" means any conveyance propelled by an internal combustion engine, electricity, or steam.
(5) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation (including a government corporation), trust, association, firm, joint stock company, organization, commission, the District or federal government, or any other entity.
(6) "Solid waste" means combustible or incombustible refuse. Solid waste includes dirt, sand, sawdust, gravel, clay, loam, stone, rocks, rubble, building rubbish, shavings, trade or household waste, refuse, ashes, manure, vegetable matter, paper, dead animals, garbage or debris of any kind, any other organic or inorganic material or thing, or any other offensive matter.

D.C. Code § 8-1003:

(5) "Construction and demolition wastes" means the waste building materials and rubble resulting from construction, remodeling, repair, and demolition operation on houses, commercial buildings, pavements, and other structures.
(24)"Yard waste" means any organic material, except food, and includes wood, mulch, leaves, or plants.