Managing your waste is an important element of the game. If you don't manage it properly, you'll get pollution, which will subtract from your happiness. This article is about how pollution works, and how to manage it.
Nearly everything in the game produces at least some amount of waste during it's construction and operation. If you have a waste sequestration well then you can store that waste as it's produced. If you don't have one, or the one you have is full, then every extra point of waste that gets dumped on the ground is called pollution, and pollution hurts your happiness.
For every point of pollution, you lose one point of happiness.
The second thing you need to do is control the amount of waste you're producing, by converting your waste stream into usable resources. You can do this using a waste treatment center, a water reclamation plant, a waste digester, or a waste energy plant. Each provides you with different kinds of resources depending upon your needs.
The third part of waste control is using the waste you have in storage. No matter how well you control your waste, you're always going to have some waste you can't use directly from the waste stream, so you're going to need to get rid of it, or your waste sequestration well will eventually fill up. There are two basic strategies for this. The first is through the use of the subspace transporter or the trade ministry. Using those you can trade your waste away to other players or to the Lacuna Expanse Corp. The other way is to recycle the waste yourself using a waste recycling center. At the waste recycling center you can convert waste into ore, water, and energy in whatever amounts you like. However, if you don't keep your waste stream under control, then your recycling center won't be able to keep up with all the waste you need to recycle.
Now you know the basics of managing waste. Perhaps you'll choose to become one of those players that goes into business processing waste. Everybody has waste to get rid of, and they'll often do trades at more than 1:1, just to unload their waste.