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Lesson 1: Introduction

Objective: To introduce course and provide an overview of municipal solid waste (MSW) management options and issues. To introduce regulations impacting MSW management


  • Understand course expectations
  • Appreciate the magnitude of MSW issues
  • Become familiar with integrated solid waste management
  • Become familiar with RCRA
  • Understand MSW management in Florida
  • Define Subtitle D wastes


Where does it go?

In 2001, 229 million tons of municipal solid waste were produced in the US. The composition of US waste in 2001 was:

Waste management practices in the U.S. were divided as follows:

Management Practice*

% of Generated Waste





Recycling and Composting



The recycling goal established by EPA was 25% by 2000. EPA has established a new national recycling goal of 35% by 2005.

What does it cost?

1996 Average Tipping Fees

Landfills - $32/ton
Incinerators - $63/ton

Federal Regulation of Solid Waste

Chart: 2001 Total Waste Generation





RCRA Solid Waste Definition:
According to the EPA regulations in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, solid waste means any garbage, or refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining, and agricultural operations, and from community activities.

Practical Definition of Solid Waste:
Solid waste generated by a community.

What are some RCRA Subtitle D Wastes (nonhazardous wastes)?

  • Municipal solid wastes
  • Household hazardous wastes
  • Municipal sludge - accumulated solids, residues, and precipitates generated as a result of waste treatment or processing, including wastewater treatment, water supply treatment, or operation of an air pollution control facility, and mixed liquor and solids pumped from septic tanks, grease traps, privies, or similar
  • Nonhazardous industrial wastes - SW generated by manufacturing or industrial processes that is not a hazardous waste regulated under Subtitle-C. Such waste may include but is not limited to, wastes resulting from the following manufacturing activities: electric power generation, fertilizer/agricultural chemicals, food and related products/by-products, inorganic chemicals, iron and steel manufacturing, leather products, nonferrous metals, organic chemicals, plastic and resin manufacturing, pulp and paper
  • Municipal combustion ash
  • Small quantity generators' hazardous waste
  • Construction/demolition debris- building materials, packaging, and rubble resulting from the construction, remodeling, repair, and demolition operations on pavements, houses, commercial buildings, etc. bricks, concrete, soil, rock, lumber, road spoils, rebar, etc.
  • Agricultural waste - resulting from activities such as planting and harvesting crops, production of milk, slaughter of animals, and the operation of feedlots
  • Oil and gas wastes
  • Mining wastes

Florida Management of Solid Waste

  • 24.95 million tons of waste collected in 1999 (8.92 pounds per person per day)
  • 58 % landfilled, 27 % recycled, 15 % WTE, 60 landfills (all lined), 13 WTE, more WTE capacity (19,176 tons/day) than any other state. (WTE=Waste to Energy Facility, Incinerator) Generate 534 megawatts of electricity/day.
  • If every resident, visitor, and business in Florida chose to dump their trash at the beach rather than manage it properly, by the end of the year the pile would measure 5 ft high, 100 ft wide, and span the entire length of Florida's coastline.

Solid Waste Legislation

  • Passed in June 1988
  • Public Law 88-130 of Florida Statutes
  • Wall Street Journal: "the most ambitious assault on solid waste yet attempted in any state"
  • Plan for and regulate storage, collection, transportation, separation, processing, recycling and disposal of Solid Waste (SW)
  • Require review of design, permit construction, op and closure of SW management facilities
  • Require proper transport, disposal, storage, and treatment of Hazardous Waste (HW)
  • Promote reduction, recycling, reuse, treatment of SW (in lieu of disposal)
  • Promulgate rules addressing design/operation/training for SW composting, recycling, incinerator (WTE) ash disposal, biohazardous wastes, etc.

Page last updated June 2004 by Dr. Reinhart


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