The sources of solid waste include residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial activities.
Certain types of wastes that cause immediate danger to exposed individuals or environments are classified as hazardous; these are discussed in the article hazardous-waste management.
At that time a system for waste removal began to evolve in Greece and in the Greek-dominated cities of the eastern Mediterranean.
In ancient Rome, property owners were responsible for cleaning the streets fronting their property.
It was not until 1714 that every city in England was required to have an official scavenger.
Toward the end of the 18th century in America, municipal collection of garbage was begun in Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia.
As populations increased, efforts were made to transport waste farther out from the cities.
After the fall of Rome, waste collection and municipal sanitation began a decline that lasted throughout the Middle Ages.
New refuse incinerators were designed to recover heat energy from the waste and were provided with extensive air pollution control devices to satisfy stringent standards of air quality.
Modern solid-waste management plants in most developed countries now emphasize the practice of recycling and waste reduction at the source rather than incineration and land disposal.