This report is the most recent in a series of reports released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) characterizing municipal solid waste (MSW) in the United States. The report describes the national waste stream based on data collected from 1960 through 1994. This historical perspective is useful for establishing trends and highlighting changes that have occurred over the years, both ·in types of waste generated and in the ways they are managed. It does not, however, specifically address local and regional variations in the waste stream. Nevertheless, the data in this report can be used to develop approximate estimates of MSW generation and composition in a defined area. Due to·increased interest in the report over the years and the dynamic nature of the MSW field, EPA plans to provide annual updates of this report as a service to state and local MSW officials and other interested parties.
The report includes
- MSW generation, recovery, and discards from 1960–1994
- Per capita generation and discard rates
- Residential and commercial portions of MSW generation
- The role of source reduction in MSW management
- Scenarios for future recovery
- An “Additional Perspectives” chapter examining potential climate change implications