Historical development of municipal solid waste land-based storage and disposal policies, programs and practices in the US: 1933-1997
Keywords:Municipal solid waste disposal, historical analysis, American states, open dumping, sanitary landfilling
The practice of ocean dumping of municipal solid wastes was banned in 1933 in the US. Thousands of landfills have been closed due to state and federal regulations and substandard conditions. These closings have resulted in building larger regional and/or privatized landfills in the US and pressures to find new sites or expand existing ones. Federal policymakers responded with new and stricter legislation to the severity of the solid waste issues. The most significant regulation was the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) and its amendments. Both closure of landfills and public opposition to landfilling create pressures to heavily utilize alternative waste disposal methods: incineration, composting, recycling, and source reduction. This study is a historical analysis of American states’ land-based municipal solid waste storage and disposal policies, programs and practices under the influence of related federal regulations from the period of 1933 to 1997. It is questioned in an historical manner why and to what extent do states use and restrict land-based municipal solid waste disposal methods and how it changed during most of the 20th Century?