We can’t measure the impact of solid waste unless we study the energy we throw away.
Waste discussions have traditionally focused on the back-end management of garbage: the significant economic and environmental implications of finding safe disposal sites, for example. But the obvious often escapes us — that garbage is made up of basic materials (metal, wood, plastic, glass, etc.) that require energy to obtain, process and manufacture.
When we throw something away, we also throw away the embodied energy used to make it. Huge amounts of energy are used to extract the primary resources required for virgin materials from which new products are made. More again goes into the manufacturing. Rarely is this lost energy considered.