Any waste product which is poisonous to animal or plant life may be considered "toxic waste". While this does include industrial waste, heavy industry is by no means the only source of toxic waste.

The average American family can produce toxic waste in several forms: dirty disposable diapers, automobile exhaust, suburban runoff, discarded alkaline batteries, and even junked computer equipment.

(The average CRT computer monitor contains several pounds of lead. If you dump that in your trash and have it towed to the landfill, you are adding toxic waste to the environment. No, you didn't manufacture the CRT, but you chose to toss it -- and it isn't "waste" of any sort, toxic or not, until it's thrown out.)

Arguably, the term may also include biohazardous waste, such as medical waste -- sharps, blood, and the many more gory things that a hospital has to throw out.

In any event, the problem of toxic waste is twofold -- how to get rid of what waste we already have without actually poisoning anyone (or anything, ideally); and how to minimize our production of it in the future. There are many proposals on both subjects.