Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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Solid waste Frequently asked questions

What is a waste?

The Wisconsin statutes define waste quite broadly. A waste is any liquid, solid, or gaseous material that can no longer be used for its originally intended purpose because it has become contaminated or has been used in some process. A waste is also defined as any material which is still usable for its originally intended purpose but which you decide to discard. For example, you may have purchased a container of a solvent and discover that you do not need it. The solvent is a waste once you decide to get rid of it. Similarly, if you spill the solvent in your backyard, the contaminated soil is a waste if you have to have it removed for disposal (or treatment). Moreover, it may be a hazardous waste. If you discard a rag used to mop up the solvent, the rag may also be a hazardous waste.

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