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Waste management choices in Europe. Not long ago the amount and composition of waste was such that it could be simply diluted and dispersed into the environment. Most items were reused and only a few remained, that would not decompose naturally. With industrialisation and rising urban density, a new concept followed: collect and dump out of sight. The aim was to eliminate waste or at least protect the population from it. This generally involved either openly burning it (still practised today in many countries, this is a major source of toxic gas emissions such as dioxins and furans) or dumping it on specially designated landfi ll sites.

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