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The solid waste dilemma

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In 1976, the U.S. Congress enacted the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to further address the problem of increasing industrial and municipal waste. The main objectives of RCRA were to responsibly manage hazardous and solid waste and to procure materials made from recovered wastes. To fulfill these objectives, four main programs of waste management were developed. These programs were defined under Subtitle C, the Hazardous Waste Program; Subtitle D, the Solid Waste Program; Subtitle I, the Underground Storage Tank Program; and Subtitle J, the Medical Waste Program. Subtitle D illustrates the solid waste dilemma occurring in the United States. Under this program, states are encouraged to develop and implement their own waste management plans. These plans include the promotion of recycling solid wastes and the closing and upgrading of all environmentally unsound dumps.

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Correspondence should be directed to Earle B. Amey, U.S. Geological Survey, National Center 983, Reston, Virginia 20192.

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Russell, J.A., Hurdelbrink, R.J. The solid waste dilemma. Nat Resour Res 5, 249–259 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02257438

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Key Words

  • Solid waste
  • waste management
  • recycling