When we think of waste - also known as garbage, trash, litter, rubbish, refuse - we think of yucky, smelly, messy stuff. It's the junk we consider worthless, and throw away. No one wants to think about it, much less deal with it.
Each week we put bags out by the curb and after the garbage truck comes rumbling down the street and takes it away, we think on it no more: out of sight = out of mind. But where does it go? And what would happen if nobody came to take the trash away? How fast would our homes fill up with unwanted, stinky things? We'd be forced to think about it, constantly. We'd have to take a closer look.
And when we really look at what we throw away, we can see that most of our garbage isn't really garbage at all, but rather reusable, recyclable materials. The smelly, messy stuff (rotting food) is just a small part of our waste. Every garbage bag contains valuable resources and energy that we are throwing away.