AN AGENDA FOR ACTION
           Final Report of the Municipal Solid Waste Task Force
                          Office of Solid Waste
                  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                             February 1989
Printed on Recycled Paper


     Americans produce more and more solid waste each year; we generate more per
capita than any other nation.  But,  at the same time that we generate more waste, we
are running  out  of places to  dispose  of  it.    Landfill capacity in some  places  is
almost  filled  to  the  saturation point,  and solid waste  facilities  continue to  be
difficult to site because of public resistance, commonly known as the  "Not In My
Backyard" (NIMBY) syndrome.   Public resistance is  often based on  environmental
concerns, unpleasant  smells,  noise,  and  truck traffic.    Public resistance  is  not
limited to landfills  and combustors.  Even materials recovery facilities and recycling
centers  can be difficult to site.   (The  feckless  voyage of  the  "garbage  barge" in
1987 and the ash barges last year  have become national  symbols of America's solid
waste dilemma).

     Although solid waste  management is primarily a local responsibility,  the problem
is  national in scope, and  we need a national  strategy to solve it.   In  response to
this burgeoning problem, EPA created a  Municipal Solid Waste Task Force in February
1988 and directed it to fashion  a strategy  for improving the nation's management of
municipal solid waste.   The  following  report was developed  after  extensive  public
input and consultation with a variety of knowledgeable groups and individuals.

     The Agenda for Action offers a number of concrete suggestions for action by not
only EPA, but also government at all  levels,  industry, and private citizens.   This
Agenda cannot be  accomplished by government  acting alone.  Its accomplishment  is
contingent on a  strong partnership  among government, industry and the  public.   It
calls for  a  "systems"  approach to managing  municipal  solid  waste;  that  is,  the
complementary use of  source  reduction,  recycling,  combustion and   landfills  to

comprehensively manage  municipal solid  waste.   It also underscores the need for a
fundamental change In the nation's approach to producing, packaging and disposing of
consumer goods.  In the past, "business as usual" meant an accelerating trend toward
disposable  products,  convenience  packaging,  and an  "out-of-sight,  out-of-mind"
attitude toward  solid  waste.   As  a nation, we  can no  longer afford this kind of
"business as usual."   We must  adopt a  new  solid  waste management ethic  that
minimizes the amount and  toxicity of  waste created by the products we make  and
purchase, produced during the manufacturing process, and generated by our day-to-day
activities as consumers.  That ethic must also maximize the amount of waste materials
that  are  reused  and recycled so that we  achieve  a fully integrated system  for waste
management. In short, we need to change the way we do business. This change will not
be easy, but If  we work  diligently  together, we  will achieve our goal.   I hope  this
report will serve as a centerpiece for this change.

  The Agency is  very encouraged  by  the strong  support for the Agenda for Action
that  was expressed by states, localities,  public interest groups, the waste management
Industry and the manufacturing industries.   This support shows  a real commitment to
Implementing the Agenda for Action. Based upon public comments, the Agenda has been
modified somewhat. The most noteworthy changes are:
     o  To meet  our 25  percent source reduction/recycling goal by  1992,  greater
        emphasis  Is placed on  composting.   Development of quality guidelines and
        standards or guidelines for operation of compost facilities are also planned.
     o  No specific  source reduction/recycling  goal  is  established  beyond  1992;
        however,  the Agency anticipates that the 25 percent level will, be exceeded,
        as  capital  equipment  comes  on-line  for recycling  various  commodities,
        Including paper.
     o  The goal  for source reduction  is articulated more clearly to indicate that we
        should reverse the ever-Increasing per capita generation of garbage.
     o  More emphasis is placed on a "systems" approach  to  waste  management,
        since meeting a 25 percent recycling and  reduction goal still leaves 75 per-
        cent of the waste stream to be managed.
     o  Household hazardous waste (HHW)  issues  are  noted  in  more detail and are
        Included in the source reduction  activities section.

        The need for better communication by states and localities to enhance siting
        is discussed, and EPA's communications experts are committed to working on
        this issue.
     Finally,  several changes to the  schedules  have  been made, to  reflect  public
comments and other factors.
                                                   -J. Winston Porter
                                                    Assistant Administrator
                                                    Solid Waste and
                                                    Emergency Response


                           TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary
Scope of the Problem
Integrated Waste Management
         Hierarchy of Integrated Waste Management
         Who's Responsible
National Goals

An Agenda for Action
     I.   Increase Available Information
     II.   Increase Planning
     III.  Increase Source Reduction Activities
     IV.  Increase Recycling
     V.  Reduce Risks of Combustion
     VI.  Reduce Risks of Landfills

                                     - iii -


                               LIST OF TABLES
         Next Steps for EPA to Increase Information
         Next Steps for EPA to Encourage Increased Planning

         Next Steps for EPA to Encourage Increased Source
         Reduction Activities
         Next Steps for EPA to Participate in and Encourage
         Increased Recycling
         Next Steps for EPA to help Reduce the Risks of
  6  \    Next Steps for EPA to Help Reduce the Risks of
                                      -  v -


                            EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

     This report is about what the government calls municipal solid waste, and almost
everyone else calls garbage.   As a nation,  we  generated about 160 million  tons  of
solid waste  last year; by the year 2000, we are projected  to  generate  190  million
tons.   This  report is about how we should  handle this outflow of refuse - the cans,
the bottles,  the leaves and lawn clippings, the paper and plastic packages, the  broken
furniture and appliances, the uneaten food and the old tires.  This deluge of garbage
is growing steadily and we must find ways to manage it safely and effectively.  Eighty
percent of  garbage is  landfilled.   But  we're  running  out  of space  to  bury it  in
existing landfills; more than  one third  of  the  nation's  landfills  will be  full  within
the next few years and many cities are unable to find enough acceptable sites for new
landfills or  new combustors.   To eliminate  this growing capacity gap, all levels  of
government, the public and Industry must forge a new alliance to develop and implement
integrated systems for solid waste management.

     This report presents the goals and recommendations for  action by EPA, state and
local government,  industry  and private  citizens  to  address the  municipal solid waste
management problems that are facing this  country. These goals and recommendations are
the result of the efforts  of EPA's  recently created Municipal  Solid Waste Task Force.
The Task Force gathered existing data on municipal waste and problems regarding  its
management, solicited input  from  interested persons and groups, held public meetings
and developed a number of options to address these problems.  This summary data is
contained in a supplemental document titled "Background Document for the Solid Waste
Dilemma: An Agenda for Action."

     The types and extent of the problem in managing municipal solid waste vary from
region to region depending on waste type,  land use and demographic  characteristics,
but some trends and problems are clearly national in scope.  From 1960 to 1988, we
generated more waste every year, both in total tonnage and in pounds per person, and
                                       - 1 -

 this trend  is projected to continue.  In addition, we are running out of places to put
 our waste because old landfills are closing and few  new landfills and combustors are
 able  to  be sited  and built.   There  are  concerns about  potential  threats to human
 health and the environment from combustor emissions and ash, from landfill emissions,
 leachate, and  litter.   High costs are  borne by the  waste  generator and  handler,  as
 many areas of the country resort to shipping waste long distances by truck and rail  to
 areas with available landfill  or combustor  capacity.   Recycling,  although  a waste
 management technique popular with the  public, is used currently to manage only 10
 percent of our nation's waste, and is  successful only when participation in separation
 and  collection  is  high  and  market  prices for  secondary materials  are favorable.
 Siting of  recycling facilities  is also  becoming  more  difficult.   Finally,  manufac-
 turers of products have  no  direct  incentive to design products for effective waste
 management because they are not usually directly responsible for the ultimate costs  of
 waste management. Similarly, most consumers  do not have a direct economic incentive
 to throw away less, because they are  not usually charged based on the amount they
 throw away.

     This report recommends using  "integrated waste management" systems to solve
 municipal solid waste generation and management problems at the local, regional, and
 national  levels.   In this holistic approach, systems are designed so that some or  all
 of the four waste management options (source reduction, recycling, combustion and
 landfills)  are used as a complement to one  another to  safely  and efficiently manage
 municipal solid waste.  The system is "custom designed" to meet local environmental,
 economic and Institutional needs. A key element of integrated waste management is the
 hierarchy,  which  favors  source  reduction  (including reuse)  to first  decrease  the
 volume and toxicity and  increase the useful life of  products in order to  reduce the
 volume and toxicity of waste.  Recycling (including composting) is the preferred waste
 management option to further reduce potential  risks to human health and the  environ-
 ment,  divert waste  from landfills and combustors,  conserve  energy,  and  slow  the
 depletion of nonrenewable natural resources.   In  implementing source reduction and
 recycling, we must avoid shifting risks from one medium to another (e.g., groundwater
to air) or from  one population to another. Landfills and combustors will be necessary
                                      - 2 -

for the foreseeable  future to  handle a significant portion  of wastes, but are  lower  on
the  hierarchy because of the  potential risks to human health and the environment and
long-term management costs.  This risk  potential  can be largely  minimized through
proper design and management.  Integrated waste management can    and should  be
implemented at  a local level to the extent practical, and is a useful  conceptual tool
for  making  management decisions.  But, it  is not meant to  be rigidly  applied when
local unique waste and demographic characteristics make source reduction and recycling

     The integrated waste management system is the framework for the national goals
presented in this report.   This report presents EPA's stated goal of  managing,  25
percent of  our nation's municipal solid waste through source reduction and recycling
by 1992.  Composting of yard waste will  play a key role in  attaining this goal.  While
no long-term numerical goals are established  beyond 1992, the Agency anticipates that
the  25 percent level will be  exceeded as capital recycling equipment  comes on line.
This will  be  especially true  in the  paper  industry,  where  planning today will  be
essential  to Increasing domestic paper recycling  in the mid-1990's.   In addition,  we
must strive to reverse our ever-increasing per capita generation of  garbage.   We also
must work to reduce the risks associated with landfills and combustors, inasmuch as
these management  alternatives will be necessary to handle  most of the wastes.  The
risks of recycling need  to be examined to determine  if risk reduction is also needed
for  recycling.  By  implementing these goals,  we  can solve  or  reduce many of our
municipal waste management  problems.

     This report  outlines  EPA's program to address these  goals.  It  also presents a
number of recommendations  for state and local governments,  industry, and consumers
that will  enable us to meet  these  goals.   Information, assistance,  and  data must  be
made  more accessible to everyone by  generating  catalogs  of available  materials,
establishing a national clearinghouse,  developing a  "peer  matching" program to allow
all levels of government and  waste management to  exchange expertise, and developing
a  national  research  agenda for  collecting  new  information  and  developing new
                                       - 3 -

     Planning at all levels of government is recommended in the report.  National and
regional  planning conferences are needed to facilitate  the  exchange  of  information.
This report contains a  list  of  elements that state  and local municipal solid  waste
management plans should include.

     Source reduction should be fostered at the manufacturing,  governmental, and local
levels.  EPA will study options for reducing lead and cadmium in products in order to
reduce the risks of  combustor  emissions  and  ash,  landfill  leachate, and recycling
operations.  EPA will foster workshops for manufacturers and educators to promote the
design  of products and packaging for effective  waste management.  EPA will identify
economic, regulatory and possibly legislative incentives for decreasing the volume and
toxlclty of waste.    EPA  will also take  steps  to  facilitate Federal  procurement of
products with source reduction attributes.   Industry should conduct waste audits,  and
determine ways to decrease the volume and toxicity of materials used in manufacture.

     Recommendations for recycling (including  composting) call for fostering imple-
mentation  of  existing Federal procurement guidelines (as well as evaluating ones for
additional commodities), and creating an interagency working  group to develop pilot
and full-scale  projects  for  separating recyclables  in  Federal  agencies.   Markets for
secondary  materials  and recycled goods must be stimulated and stabilized;  thus EPA
will  conduct  market development  studies for  different commodities,  will examine
economic and regulatory incentives for using  secondary  or recycled materials, and will
foster  the formation of  regional marketing councils  for  the exchange  of  market
Information.   A National  Recycling  Council will be formed  with  members from all
sectors of waste management to track recycling issues and problems and to recommend
actions.    Finally,  EPA   will  study  how  to   foster  recycling lead-acid   batteries,
Including  examining  the   current  incentives  and  disincentives   associated  with
liability.    Industry   should  step  up  its  efforts  in   fostering   the  recycling  of
plastics.   State and  local governments should  encourage  separation of recyclables,
conduct waste exchanges, and provide incentives for stable markets for recycled  goods.
                                       . 4 .

     Finally, recommendations for decreasing the risks from landfilling and combustion
include  continuing  EPA's ongoing efforts  to  develop air emission standards for  new
combustors  and  landfills,  air   emission  guidelines  requiring  state standards  for
existing combustors and landfills,  and revised minimum design and  operation criteria
for landfills.  EPA recommends that ash management plans be developed as part of any
plan for combustion of  waste.   EPA, in conjunction with  trade  associations, will
facilitate development  of guidance  on training  and  certification for combustor and
landfill  operators.   EPA will also study whether bans are necessary or  desirable for
certain types of waste.

     These recommendations present a core  program  for governmental, industrial and
citizen action which will help solve our nation's municipal waste management problems.
                                       - 5  -


     This report is  about what the government calls municipal solid waste and almost
everybody else calls  garbage.   It's about  bottles, cans,  disposable  diapers,  uneaten
food,  scraps of wood and metal,  worn-out  tires and used-up batteries, paper and
plastic packages, boxes, broken furniture and appliances,  clippings from  our lawns and
shrubs—the varied human refuse of our modern industrial society.

     All of  us  generate solid waste every day—a total for the nation  of about 160
million tons a  year.   And the  garbage deluge is growing steadily;  with our current
garbage practices, it could reach 193 million  tons by the Year 2000.   More  than 40
percent of this  solid waste stream  consists of the paper and paper products we discard
                             in our homes,  offices and factories.*  Yard wastes  make
 , , „ '     j   ,   f °         up another  18 percent of  the total.  The  other major
pick it up, ana nobody
wants us to put it               components are  metals,  glass,  food waste,  and plastics
 own'                        (see  Figure  1).   Symptomatic of what  social  critics call
                             our  "throwaway  society"   are  the  many  disposable
products that are manufactured, imported, sold, used and thrown away; for example, we
discard 1.6  billion  pens,  2 billion razors  and blades, and 16 billion diapers  every
year.   "Convenience" packaging  suited to  our high-speed,  increasingly  busy life-
styles—TV dinners,  fast-food  containers,  microwavable  bags  of  popcorn,   and the
like—make a substantial contribution to the flood of trash.
*In this report, the  term  "municipal solid waste"  refers primarily  to  residential  solid
waste,  with some  contribution  from commercial, institutional  and  industrial sources.   In
some  areas,  nonresidentlal wastes are managed separately,  largely because industrial and
some commercial sources produce relatively uniform wastes in large quantities, which makes
them more suitable for alternative disposal techniques  or recycling.  Hazardous  wastes,  as
defined by Federal and State regulation,  generally are  managed outside the municipal  solid
waste stream.  Exceptions are household hazardous wastes and hazardous wastes generated in
very small  quantities,  which are often placed in the municipal solid waste stream by the
  This  report  does  not attempt  to  grapple with the issue of  medical waste.   This  issue
Is the subject of a separate EPA Task Force.
                                         - 6 -

                          Paper and
                       paperboard - 41.0%
                            Food  wastes
             Rubber,  leather, textiles,
                   wood - 8.1%
Misc.  inorganic
wastes -  1.6%
Yard wastes

              (Source: Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste
               in the United States,  1960 to 2000; Franklin
               Associates, 3/30/88)

     People who manage solid waste say that the First Law of Garbage is:  "Everybody
wants us to pick it up, and nobody wants  us to put it down."  Many Americans want
their trash  to  disappear quickly and quietly from  their  backyards  and curbs,  never  to
be seen or heard from again.   And the last thing they want in their neighborhood is a
landfill, combustor  or  recycling  center—all of which are  associated  in  the  public
mind with noxious odors, possibly dangerous pollution, and noisy traffic.
     These two social forces—the throwaway mentality on the part of manufacturers and
many consumers and the NIMBY syndrome-have combined to create a serious and growing
solid waste problem In many American  cities.   As a nation, we are generating more
garbage all the time,  and we don't know what to do with it.  Ineffective or  irrespon-
sible disposal of all  this waste 'has  the potential to  degrade the environment and
                            cause risk to public health.  We're  running  out  of space
                            to  bury  it  in  existing landfills;  more  than  one-third  of
                            the nation's  landfills  will  be  full  within the  next two
                            to three years.  Yet because of  the NIMBY syndrome and
                            concerns over potential  threats  to human health and the
                            environment,   many  cities are  unable to   find enough
                            acceptable  sites   for   new   landfills.     Siting  new
combustors can be  equally difficult; many people are  concerned as to whether garbage
can be burned without producing dangerous air pollution and residues. The problem has
gotten to the point that some American  cities are paying premium prices  to have their
trash shipped to other counties, states, and even foreign countries.
'The annual U.S.
generation of 158 million
tons of municipal solid
waste would fill a convoy
of 10-ton garbage trucks,
145,000 miles long...
over half way from here
to the moon."
     In  response to this solid waste dilemma, many states,  localities, and concerned
citizens  have stepped up recycling activities and formed comprehensive waste  manage-
ment programs.  With their progressive programs, some localities are far ahead of any
Federal  program for municipal solid waste, while other communities and states lag far
behind and may not even recognize or anticipate a problem.  The private sector, in the
form of the waste management, secondary materials, and manufacturing industries, have
also recognized the benefits of recycling and have successfully  implemented programs.
The Federal role for municipal waste management has ranged through the years from an
active nonregulatory role prior to 1980, to a less comprehensive, more regulatory role
                                       - 8 -

since 1980.  In the past several years, EPA has proposed revised minimum standards for
designing and operating  municipal landfills;  issued procurement guidelines for some
recycled goods; issued a Report to Congress on air  emissions  from municipal waste
combustors;  published an Advance Notice  of Proposed Rulemaking for regulating air
emissions from new and existing combustors;  issued  combustor guidance to new source
permitting authorities;  developed a report on  the efficacy of the current nonhazardous
waste  regulations;  recently initiated several bulletins and  brochures to promote  used
oil recycling; and  conducted a toxicity study on municipal waste combustor ash.  EPA
also is developing  guidance  for  proper  handling and  disposal  of  combustor  ash

     More recently, the Environmental  Protection  Agency created  a Municipal Solid
Waste  Task Force in February 1988 to  specifically  address the problem of increasing
waste generation and decreasing management capacity.  The Task Force was given the
assignment  of quickly assessing  the size  and  scope  of the solid waste problem,
examining alternatives for solving  it, and  developing a  well-coordinated  strategy of
action for improving the nation's management of municipal solid waste.

     In an   effort  to  make  the  strategy  credible  and  practical,  the  Task Force
solicited comments from  the  public and interested  groups and organizations.   Seven
public  meetings were held in  May,  September and October in  Boston,  Dallas,  Seattle,
St.  Paul (Minnesota), Washington (D.C.),  Los Angeles and Atlanta. A 60-day public
comment  period on the draft  strategy was  also provided.  The Task Force  also identi-
fied interested trade associations,  environmental groups,  and government organizations
and  offered  drafts of its  analysis  for  their  review during  the development of  the
draft strategy.   These comments  from the  public contributed  substantially  to   this
Agenda for Action.
                                      - 9 -

     This report presents the Task Force's national action agenda.*    There is no
single solution to this complex problem.  A myriad of activities must be implemented,
both in the short and long term, by all of us in order to solve the current and future
problems with municipal solid waste.   This report suggests a  number of things that
government, business,  industry and citizens can  do to reduce the production of  solid
waste and better manage the solid waste that is produced:  manufacturing products with
consideration  for their ultimate  management  as wastes; encouraging,  producing and
buying  products that  are made  from  recycled or  recyclable  materials;  separating
                            bottles, cans and  paper and turning them in for recy-
                            cling;  improving  the  safety  and  efficiency of  landfills
                            and combustors;  and  wherever practical, choosing  source
                            reduction and recycling over landfilling and combustion
                            as  the  preferred methods  for  managing municipal  solid
                            waste.  A mix of these options must be molded  into an
                            integrated waste management system where each component
complements  the others to  safely and efficiently manage the waste.   Local environ-
mental,  economic  and  institutional needs will, of  course,  play  an  important role  in
determining the mix at the local level.  While this report acknowledges that the bulk
of waste will be managed through combustion and landfills, it emphasizes a significant
shift to source reduction and  recycling.   The report reiterates EPA's stated goal**  of
diverting  25  percent  of  the  nation's  municipal  solid  waste  from  landfills  and
combustors through source reduction and recycling by 1992.  Much of this goal  will be
met through increased  recycling  with a special  emphasis on  composting of yard waste.
But EPA believes that implementing source reduction, by not increasing  our present per
capita  generation of municipal solid waste, is vitally important.   In  the longer term,
"Each of us contributes
an average of 1,300
pounds a year to the
growing mountain
of garbage, and each of
us, if we're willing, can
cut back on the amount."
*Only the Task Force's  recommendations are Included in  this report;  the  data  and
Information supporting the  recommendations  can  be found in a supplemental  document
entitled, "Background Document for The Solid Waste Dilemma:  An Agenda for Action, Draft
Report of the Municipal Solid Waste Task Force." (EPA #530-SW-88-054A) and "The Solid
Waste Dilemma: An Agenda for Action, Appendices A-B-C" (EPA 530-SW-88-054B).
**Thls goal was first stated by the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Solid Waste
and Emergency Response, J. Winston Porter, in a speech at the Fourth Annual Conference on
Solid Waste Management and Materials Policy, on January 29, 1988.
                                       - 10 -

the Agency anticipates that the 25 percent goal will be exceeded as capital recycling
equipment comes on line.  This  will  be especially true in the paper industry, where
planning today will  be essential to increasing our domestic paper recycling  capacity
in the  mid-1990's.    Another  crucial long-term  goal  is  to reduce the per capita
generation of municipal solid waste.  Some proposals, such as government incentives to
encourage the production of long-lasting products  that can be reused or recycled, will
be  controversial;  but  the solid waste  problem  is serious,  and  controversy is  not
sufficient reason to ignore workable solutions.

     When  Congress passed the  Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976
(RCRA), it recognized  that state and local governments have  primary responsibility
for municipal solid waste  management, but it also gave EPA regulatory  and assistance
responsibilities in this  area.    Many  of the  recommendations  in  this  report  were
developed  with the  recognition that strong national leadership is essential  in  finding
solutions to what  has become a widespread national problem.  National leadership means
not  only  establishing  national  goals  and policies, but  setting  a good  example  by
purchasing  recycled  or recyclable  products  and  by separating  waste  to  facilitate
recycling or safe disposal.

     Each of us contributes an average  of 1,300 pounds a year to the growing mountain
of garbage, and  each of  us,  if  we're willing,   can,  at  least,  stop  increasing  the
amount of waste  requiring disposal.  In the longer term, we can  reduce  our per capita
generation of waste.  Industry  can also work toward reducing the volume and toxicity
of products and  packaging that will ultimately require  disposal.   The  report recom-
mends a number of educational and other programs to inform citizens and industry about
their responsibilities and opportunities to help stem the tide of solid waste.

     It  is  important for  all  of  us-government,   business,  and  private  citlzens-to
acknowledge that our country has a solid waste problem and to begin the difficult but
inescapable task  of  finding solutions.   If we wait, the  problem will  only get worse.
If  this  report  stimulates  thought,  discussion  and  action  to  help   improve  the
management of  our nation's  municipal solid  waste, it  will have  accomplished  its
                                      - 11 -

                           SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM
     When  local  officials  are asked  to  list  the  chief problems  associated  with
municipal  solid waste, they usually  cite the growing shortage of  landfill capacity and
the high cost of managing waste.  These two management problems are especially severe
                             in some American  cities, where disposal costs have soared
                             to more than $100 per ton of  waste because  of long-
                             distance hauling and high landfill  and combustor  "tip"
                             fees.    The  international  wanderings of  the  "garbage
                             barge", forlornly  searching  for  a  last resting  place for
                             garbage from  Islip,  New  York,  graphically  illustrated
the  capacity shortages  in  populous  communities.   Some states and localities  have
responded to  this problem by enacting laws  requiring mandatory recycling or dis-
couraging waste generation.
"In 1960, Americans
generated waste at a rate
of 2.65 pounds per person
per day; by 1986, that
figure had jumped to
3.58 pounds."
     High costs and capacity shortages,  however, are only symptoms of a more basic
problem:   Most of  America's citizens,  officials and industry  have yet to  recognize
their responsibility for the growth  in solid waste and for the problems  caused by that
growth.  In 1960, Americans generated waste at a rate of 2.65 pounds  per person per
day; by 1986, that  figure had jumped to 3.58 pounds,  and the trend  is projected to
continue  into the Year 2000.2   Generation of  every kind  of  waste is up,  Including
paper, plastic, glass, and  metals,  as  shown  in Figure  2.   An  American  generates
approximately one pound per day more waste than his/her counterpart in West Germany,
an  equally industrialized  nation.3  Much  of the  difference can be traced to the  high
  Frank J. Sudol and Alvin L. Zach, "Recycling  in New Jersey: the Newark Experience,"
Resource Recycling, Volume VII, No. 2, May/June, 1988, p. 28.
2 Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the  U.S. 1960-2000 (updated 1988), Franklin
Associates, March 30, 1988.
  Allen  Hershkowltz, Ph.D.,  "Garbage Burning-Lessons  from Europe:  Consensus  and
Controversy In Four European States," Inform, 1986, p. 13.
                                       -  12 -

£ 50-
1 40-
0 30-
13 2.0-

                  PAPER AND


                           METALS PLASTICS  TEXTILES

*Ref: Characterization Of Municipal Solid Waste  In The
  United States, 1960 To 2000; Franklin Assoc, 3/30/88
  (before material or energy recovery)

 level of product manufacture and consumption  in this country and the need for con-
 venience on the part of increasingly busy families.  In  general,  American consumers
 have no incentive to limit their  waste  generation, because  they  are  not charged for
 disposal according to the amount  of waste they produce.  Nor are there many incentives
 for  manufacturers to design  their products and packaging  in a  way  that takes into
 account the effective management of those products when they are eventually discarded.

     At the  same time  more  waste is  being  generated,  less processing and disposal
 capacity  Is available  to  handle  it.   One-third  of the  nation's landfills  will be  full
 by 1991, which means  that waste that  is now disposed  of in these facilities will have
 to be  disposed of elsewhere.   Many existing  facilities are closing either because they
 are  filled or  because  their  design and operation  do  not meet Federal  or state
 standards for protection  of human health and  the environment.  New facilities must be
 built to replace this diminishing capacity but must be environmentally  sound,  preserve
 valuable resources, and not present undue  risk to human  health.  The Incentive to
 build new, environmentally sound facilities and adopt better management practices may
 not  exist in  some areas because  of the current practice  of  ''waste flight," in  which
 waste  is  shipped  by  truck or  rail across state and  county  lines to areas with  avail-
 able capacity.  If  not done concurrently with long-term  planning to solve the capacity
 problem  for  a  region,  the  short-term  solution  of waste  flight only  delays the
 inevitable  management  problem   in the locality  shipping  the  waste, and hastens
 potential problems in the area that receives and disposes of the waste.

     Efforts to site new  landfills,  combustors and recycling centers, however,  are met
 with mounting opposition.  This opposition may stem from concerns about environmental
 or health risks  from contaminated ground and surface waters and soil,  toxic ash from
 municipal  waste combustion,  and  air  emissions;  from  resistance to  such nuisance
factors  as noise,  smells, and   truck traffic;  and from anxiety over property values.
Because few governments have  established  effective dispute  resolution mechanisms,
 "siting  impasses"  result when local politicians are unwilling  or  unable to  override
the  objections  of their  constituents.    These siting  disputes illustrate the  fact that
                                      - 14 -

few of us  are eager to assume responsibility for either our neighbors' wastes or our

     Although recycling and reuse of waste materials are  publicly acceptable methods
for managing municipal solid waste, the existing waste management infrastructure often
discourages effective  recycling  efforts.   For example, a  national  policy supporting
the use of a waste management  "hierarchy" has been in effect since 1976.4  Under the
hierarchy, source reduction and recycling are the  preferred options for managing solid
waste. Combustion and landfilling are to be used only when the preferred options are
unavailable or insufficient.  Overwhelmed by the burgeoning amounts of waste that must
be removed from the curb every day, many waste  managers are  unable to  plan or
implement the  hierarchy at the local level.  As  a result, 80  percent of  the  nation's
waste  is  landfilled; only  10  percent is recycled and  10  percent  combusted.   This
reliance  on landfilling  may stem  from  a  desire for a single,  "quick-fix"  solution;
more recently, many public officials seem to be turning  to mass-burn combustors as the
"silver-bullet" answer  to their waste management problems.   The temptation  to build
a  facility that  can combust  2,000  tons  of garbage  a day  may be  difficult for  a
hard-pressed waste manager to resist.

     Why aren't many states  and localities  implementing the waste management hier-
archy?  One reason is that local officials may consider recycling programs too costly.
They  also may not consider recycling a reliable  way to handle  municipal solid waste
because  success in recycling  depends heavily on markets  for secondary  materials as
well   as  public  participation  levels,  both   of  which  can  fluctuate  widely.    And,
information on the true costs of each waste management option mey not be available.

     This brief description of the scope of the problem is by no means comprehensive.
It  is  meant  to  establish  the  basis  for setting  goals and  actions  for  a  national
strategy.   Chapters 2 and  3 of the Background  Document provide  a more thorough
description of the problems involved in managing municipal solid waste.
  Effective  Hazardous Waste Management (Non-Radioactive); Position Statement, Federal
Register, Volume 41, No. 161, August 18, 1976.
                                      - 15 -


     The term "integrated waste management" refers to the complementary  use of a
variety of waste  management practices to safely and  effectively  handle  the municipal
solid waste stream with the least adverse impact on human health and the environment.
An Integrated waste management system will contain some or  all  of  the  following

     o    Source reduction (including reuse of products)
     o    Recycling of materials (including composting)
     o    Waste combustion (with energy recovery)
     o    Landfilling.

     In integrated waste management, all the elements work together to form a complete
system for proper management  of municipal waste.   Waste stream constituents  are
matched to the  management practices that  are best suited to those particular consti-
tuents,  in order to reduce  toxics,  reduce  quantity,  and  safely extract any  useful
energy or material from the waste prior to final disposal.

     Every community  can  "custom-design" its integrated waste  management system to
emphasize certain management practices, consistent with the community's demography and
waste stream characteristics.  For example, a community like Las Vegas, Nevada, where
landfill  tipping  fees as low as  $6  per ton reflect the ready  availability of  land  ,
may choose to continue to rely on landfilling as its primary waste management practice
after  evaluating  the feasibility of source  reduction  and recycling.    Conversely, a
  C. L. Pettlt, "The 1987 Tip Fee Survey - Last Year's Rise was the Biggest Ever,"
Waste Age, Vol. 19, No. 3, March 1988, p. 77.
                                      - 16 -

town such as East Lyme, Connecticut, where disposal costs exceed $100 per ton, finds
recycling an essential way 1o handle a major part of the waste stream.6
                                In  an integrated  waste  management system, each
                            component is designed so it  complements,  rather than
                            competes with, the other components in the system.   For
                            example, combustors should be designed to handle a volume
                            of  waste with a  certain Btu value after allowing for  the
                            effect  of  recycling  on  total  waste  volume  and   Btu
values.   Failure  to  do  this can  lead to a  situation  where  materials which  would
otherwise be recycled are not because they are needed as fuel for the combustor.
Every community can
"custom-design" its
integrated waste
management system to
suit its needs.
Hierarchy of Integrated Waste Management

     To most effectively reduce our waste management problems at the national level,
states,  municipalities, and the waste management industry should use  the hierarchy
described below for evaluating the components of integrated waste management against
the community's  needs.   Of  course, strict adherence  to  a rigid hierarchy is inappro-
priate for every community. Manhattan, Nevada will very likely choose a different mix
 "Transcript  of the Public Meeting on Municipal Solid Waste," Bostc". Massachusetts,
May 9, 1988. RCRA Docket *F-88-MTFN-FFFFF, EPA, Office of Solid W..-,te, 401 M Street
S.W., Washington D.C. 20460
                                      -  17 -

of options than Manhattan, New York. But the integrated waste management hierarchy is
a useful conceptual tool for both communities to use in setting goals and planning for
their particular mix of waste management alternatives.

     The hierarchy begins with  source  reduction and reuse to  reduce both the toxic
constituents in products  and the generation of large quantities of  waste.   Source
reduction, as defined in this report, may occur through the  design and manufacture of
products and packaging with minimum toxic content, minimum volume of material, and/or
a  longer useful life.   Source  reduction  may also  be practiced  at the  corporate or
household  level through selective buying habits and reuse  of products and materials.
Effective source reduction slows the depletion  of  environmental resources, prolongs
the life of  available waste management capacity and can make combustion and land-
filling  of  wastes  safer in the short and long term by removing toxic  constituents.
Source reduction is  not used by local waste handlers for managing the  waste  that is
picked up every day;  rather,  it cuts back on the amount and the  toxicity of the waste
which Is handled.  However,  local government can encourage as well as practice  source

     The second rung in  the hierarchy  is recycling of materials,  including composting
of food and yard waste.   Recycling is  near the top of the hierarchy because  it  pre-
vents  potentially  useful  materials  from   being  combusted  or  landfilled, thereby
preserving  waste  disposal capacity.    Recycling  is  a technology  that  can prevent
depletion  of  valuable  landfill  space,  save energy and  natural  resources, provide
useful products from  discarded materials, and even make a  profit (especially when the
avoided costs  of  combustion or landfllling are taken into account).   Thus,  public
officials and waste handlers should give serious consideration  to the  practicality of
recycling and composting programs in their communities.

     Although lower  than source reduction  and recycling in the  hierarchy of desirable
waste management options,  waste combustion is useful in reducing the bulk (although
not all) of municipal waste and can provide the added  benefit of energy production.
Although   combustion  is not  risk-free,  a state-of-the-art combustor  that is  well
                                      - 18 -

 operated  should not present a significant risk to  human health  and the environment.
 When recycling is part of a community's or a waste handler's chosen Integrated waste
-management system, combustion can complement recycling by reducing the bulk of the
 nonrecyclable, nonreusable waste.  Likewise, combustion can be made more efficient by
 source reduction and removal of recyclables which are less conducive to combustion or
 which could lead to potentially harmful stack emissions or operational problems caused
 by heterogeneous waste mixtures.  Residual  ash is another problem associated  with
 combustors because of the sometimes high metals content and the need to manage it

      Landfilllng  also  is  lower  in the  hierarchy than source  reduction,  reuse  and
 recycling, but  is essential  to handle  wastes such  as nonrecyclable waste  and the
 noncombustibles such  as demolition  waste  and construction  debris.   In addition,
 landfills  can provide the benefit  of energy production through recovery of  methane
 gas.   Landfills designated for handling combustion ash residuals are essential and, in
 the absence of alternative ash management  plans,  must be  planned and designed in
 conjunction with the  combustor.   Landfills  should also  be used  for materials  that
 cannot practicably be managed in any-other way.  A well-constructed, properly  operated
 landfill should not present a significant  health risk.  As  previously mentioned, some
 communities  and waste handlers, based  on  land availability and  population  charac-
 teristics  that  make  recycling  impractical,  may  choose landfilling  as  their  principal
 method of managing  municipal  waste.   For the foreseeable future,  landfills will be
 necessary to  handle  a significant portion of wastes, so steps must be  taken  to make
 landfilling as safe as possible.

 Who's Responsible?

      We  all are.  Everyone  has  a role in making integrated  waste  management work.
 Industry  has  a responsibility to  consider source  reduction,  reuse and recyelability in
 designing products and packaging, and to use secondary materials in their manufacture.
 Citizens have a responsibility to  learn about the products  and packaging they buy and
 the  waste  they create.   What  is  in  the product?   What is  recyclable?   What  is
                                       -  19 -

potentially harmful?   How long will  the product last?   How much does it cost to
dispose of  it?   Every individual  and  corporate  citizen  should assume responsibility
for waste  disposal and adopt  a "pay-as-you-throw" attitude-a  recognition  of the
true costs of disposing of the wastes we generate.

Who's Responsible?                Waste management companies, including processors
WEALLARE.                   , .    ,.     ,       ,       .   , .    ,
Everyonehasarolein           and handlers  of secondary  materials,  have  a responsi-
making integrated waste         bllity  for  planning  and implementing integrated  waste
manogemen war .             management for their communities. They should work in
                            partnership  with  state  and local   public   officials  to
plan and Implement  Integrated  waste management and  to educate  the  public.   This
partnership can be an effective mechanism for managing municipal solid waste.

     All  levels  of government,  especially  state,  tribal and  local,   are ultimately
responsible for managing waste  and planning  the  mix of management options that will
most effectively handle the waste stream.   The Federal government  should participate
In municipal solid waste management by  establishing national goals and leadership,
developing  education  programs, providing technical assistance,  and  issuing regula-
tions.  The Federal government also has a role in establishing a framework for state,
Tribal and local  planning,  setting  minimum  standards for facilities,  and  encouraging
the  manufacturing industry to  design products  and  packaging  for  effective  waste
management, as well  as to  utilize  secondary  materials in manufacturing.  Finally,  all
levels of government  should set a good example  by purchasing recycled or recyclable
products and products that have been  subject to  source  reduction whenever possible,
and handling their own wastes in  a way that facilitates recycling and reuse.


     Planning Is  a vital  component In achieving  a national goal  of integrated  waste
management.  Siting,  designing, and building a landfill or  combustion  facility can
take many years.  Similarly, collection  and recycling programs may  take several years
to  develop  to  full   scale.    This delay  is  especially  difficult  for  communities
                                      - 20 -

experiencing an immediate waste handling  capacity shortage,  but it also may affect
communities that  face possible capacity problems in the future. Thus,  states,  Indian
Tribes and local communities should actively plan short- and long-term waste programs
based on current and projected characteristics of their waste streams.

     Evaluating  and implementing, where feasible, the integrated waste  management
hierarchy  at  the  local   level helps  solve  the  problems  associated  with  waste
management.  Minimizing toxicity and  volume  through source reduction,  reuse  and
recycling directly addresses the problem of capacity shortage and potential risks from
toxic constituents.
                                       - 21 -

                               NATIONAL GOALS

     The problems associated with municipal solid waste management, Including cost
and capacity,  are felt most directly and can  best  be  handled at  the  local  level
through  Implementation of integrated waste management  practices.  These problems,
however, are also regional and national in scope.  The widening gap  between available
capacity  and levels of  waste generation  demands  national solutions and a long-term
commitment by all.   We can no  longer  rely on landfills to handle 80 percent of the
nation's  waste.  The United States must find a safe  and permanent way to eliminate the
gap between  waste generation and available capacity  in  landfills,  combustors, and
In secondary materials markets.
     How can this goal be accomplished?  We must take short-term actions now in order
to solve the problems of today and tomorrow.   Above all, we must increase source
                            reduction  and  recycling  activities  while  making   all
                            management options reliable and safe.  EPA believes that,
                            to the  extent  practical,  source  reduction  and then
                            recycling are the preferred  options  for closing the gap
                            and reducing the amount and toxicity of waste that must
                            be landfilled or combusted.  To foster implementation of
                            this preference for source reduction and  recycling,  EPA
                            set a national goal in January 1988 of 25 percent source
reduction and recycling (up from the current 10 percent) by  1992.  Although recycling
(with special  emphasis on composting of  yard  waste)  will play the  major role  in
achieving this goal, source reduction  is  an important component.  While no long term
numerical goal has been  established, we anticipate that  the 25 percent level will  be
surpassed as capital recycling equipment  comes on-line.   This will be  especially true
In the paper industry, where planning  today will be  essential to increasing  domestic
paper recycling  in  the mid-1990's.  Our nation  must stop the  increase  in  our  per
The United States must
find a safe and permanent
way to eliminate the gap
between waste generation
and available capacity in
landfills, combustors,
and in secondary
materials markets.
                                      - 22 -

per capita generation rate.  And,  in  the  long run,  we must  also strive to reduce it.
Source  reduction and  recycling help prevent many of the problems  associated with
municipal solid  waste,  including the  pressing  need  to  site  new  landfills  and
combustors  to handle  the large  volumes of  waste  being  generated.   Preventing
generation of wastes and diverting waste components from landfills and combustors  into
reuse, -recycling- or composting .helps to-aHeviate-siting problems and potential risks
to human health and the  environment  attributable to  improper management.   Thus,
planning and  implementing these  activities now yields  benefits in managing wastes in
the years to come.  Reaching the  25 percent source reduction and recycling goal  will
mean that the remainder will be  handled  by combustion and landfills.   On-line  and
already  permitted, combustors are  projected to handle about 20 percent of the waste
stream.  The remainder (about 55 percent) is projected for landfills.
                              CURRENT SITUATION
                                 GOAL FOR 1992
                                       111  -w
                                    INCINERATE 20fr
                                     RECYCLE 25%
                                      - 23 -

     Even the most effective source reduction and recycling efforts,  however,  cannot
handle the total waste stream.  Thus, EPA believes that all waste management practices
should be made safer.  We will  need landfills  and combustors into the foreseeable
future to process and  dispose of a significant portion of the waste  stream.  Improving
the safety of these disposal alternatives,  as well as materials recovery  and recycling
facilities, can help  protect human  health and the environment and  can only help gain
public acceptance of all such facilities.


     The Task Force has identified six  objectives for a national  agenda for action to
solve the municipal  solid  waste  dilemma.   By fulfilling  these objectives,  we  help
overcome many of the problems  associated with municipal solid waste  management,
Including  siting problems,  increased waste generation rates,  concerns  over  human
health and the environment, and, perhaps, some of the high costs of waste management.
In  addition,  by   carrying   out  these  objectives—especially  by  increasing  source
reduction, recycling,  and effective planning—government, Industries, waste managers
and  citizens  will have helped fulfill the concept  of integrated waste management  and
will learn to  look  beyond the  "single  solution" to waste  problems.  The objectives
     1.   Increase the  waste  planning  and  management information (both
         technical  and educational) available to states,  local  communities,
         waste  handlers,  citizens,   and  industry,  and  increase  data
         collection for research and development.
     2.   Increase effective planning by  waste handlers,  local  communities,
         and states.
     3.   Increase source  reduction activities by the manufacturing industry,
         government and  citizens.
     4.   Increase recycling by government and by individual and corporate
     5.   Reduce  risks  from  municipal  solid waste  combustion  in order to
         protect human health and the environment.
                                    - 24 -

     6.   Reduce risks from landfills in order  to protect human  health and
         the environment.
     The following Agenda for Action is structured within the framework of these six
objectives.   Each  objective is  briefly described,  and roles for government (Federal,
state, tribe and  local),  industry and citizens are  summarized.   A table  of  next  steps
follows each objective, for easy reference by the reader.

     The Task Force received  many  suggestions on  potential actions, and  studied a
number of different options.   The following action items are culled  from the larger
array of options, and constitute a minimum  program for meeting the above-stated goals.
Most of these  actions received broad-based  support from public commentors.  Elements
that were noted by commentors as being especially important are a national clearing-
house  for  information dissemination,  Federal  procurement   guidelines  for  recycled
goods,  market development  studies.for recycling, design and operation standards for
landfills, and  air  emission  and  operator  certification  standards  for  combustors.
                                      - 25 -

                          AN AGENDA FOR ACTION

     To most effectively reach the goal outlined above, the Task Force's recommended
actions focus on reducing large-volume contributors to the waste stream.  For example,
paper and  yard  wastes are targeted for special action because  they contribute nearly
60 percent of the waste stream.  While EPA has targeted paper and  yard  wastes for
special consideration, the Agency realizes the importance of addressing other wastes
to  reduce   toxlcity,  and  to  pursue  opportunities  for recycling.    In  addition,
"orphan" wastes such as tires and batteries are highlighted because they are not now
managed In any  cohesive way, and can present environmental and health problems and
management headaches.


     Technical assistance, education, and research and development are important  ways
to encourage Informed participation in  achieving waste management  goals.  These goals
may be the national  goals, as described above, or they may  be the  basis for state,
tribal or local integrated waste management programs.  Educational materials  Increase
awareness of good waste management "ethics" while technical  assistance ensures that
all types of  waste  handlers  (individuals,  government, industry) have all  the  infor-
mation that they need to manage wastes  safely and effectively.  Data collection and
research and development  expand the boundaries  of our knowledge, giving us new
Information, new technologies and new solutions.

     Through participation  in every  level of effective waste management,  citizens and
the manufacturing industry  must take  responsibility  for the waste they  generate.  The
way  to  enhance participation is through development  and efficient delivery  of  edu-
cational and technical guidance for all audiences. This section  describes development
of technical and educational  guidance, data collection and research and development
programs,  and  delivery  systems such as a  national  clearinghouse  and  a "peer
                                     - 26 -

matching" program that matches experts in waste management to communities in need of


Develop Materials on General Topics and Specific Technical Areas
-Technical Guidance Documents-

     Guidance and materials on the technical aspects of source reduction, combustion,

recycling,  landfilling,  composting,  and collection  are  important  for  increasing  the

                           quality of waste management by everyone. These materials

                           provide the "how-to"  for the consumer, industry,  the

                           government, and  the  waste handler to effectively reduce

                           waste generation,  and prevent management and  environ-

                           mental problems.
Educational materials
provide a way to change
"business as usual" in
our society by giving
people the necessary
background information to
determine "good" and
"bad" waste management.
                                The  technical  materials  should  address at  least

                           these areas:

         What factors  decision makers  should consider  in  choosing among  waste
         management options.

         How each community can compare the risks of each management alternative in
         order to assist in siting  decisions.

         How state and local governments can communicate risks for municipal solid
         waste management alternatives to the public.

         How to determine the true costs of waste management, and how to calculate
         the management costs  avoided through choosing  one waste  management
         alternative over another.

         How citizens and businesses can implement  source reduction  through their
         consumption  habits  (e.g.,ways  to  reduce  paper consumption  through
         double-side copying).

         How to set up a community recycling program.

         How homeowners can effectively backyard compost their yard wastes, and can
         use backyard or commercial compost in landscaping, building, or gardening.
                                     - 27 -

     o   How to create Incentives for and  overcome barriers to successful source
         reduction and recycling programs.

     o   What to look for in designing and operating combustion facilities, including
         waste-to-energy methods, and landfills.

     o   How to market secondary materials and energy generated by waste-to-energy
         plants and methane from landfills.

     o   How to market compost, and ensure quality compost products.

     o   What terms like "recycled"  and "recyclable"  mean (what the  minimum
         amount of secondary materials is for a product to be called "recycled").

     o   How to  insure  that  goods  labeled as  "recycled"  or "recyclable"  are

     o   How to collect and process tires,  including a processing  method for making
         refuse-derived  fuel from tires  and  guidance  on   marketing  this  fuel,
         management of tires  in landfills, management of tire  piles, and recycling of

     o   How to handle lead-acid batteries, including guidance on proper design and
         operation   of  collection  and  processing  facilities  and  metal-recovery

     o   How to manage and  reduce household hazardous waste,  including paints,
         cleaners, solvents, used oil, etc.

     o   How blomedical wastes should be handled and treated.

     o   Whether  labeling  such as  "recycled,"  "recyclable," and  "designed  for
         safe  disposal  in   an   combustor  or  landfill"   is  effective  and  feasible.
         (Such  labeling is  believed by  many to  be useful  in raising public con-
         sciousness.   But,  concerns over issues such as the  need for Federal  over-
         sight,  defining these terms,  and  "truth  in advertising"  problems  must  be
     Work on some of these materials is already  underway by  EPA, state  and local
governments,  the  waste  handling  industry,  trade associations  and  public  interest
groups.   For  example, EPA is  working on  communication tools  for state  and local
governments to use in siting facilities.   This list  of materials is  a sample of what
could and should be done, but it is by no means  exhaustive.  EPA will evaluate what is
available and what is needed for technical materials.
                                      - 28 -

-Educational Materials-

     Educational  materials provide  a way to  change  "business as  usual" in our

society by giving people the necessary background information to determine "good"

and  "bad"  waste management.  The target audience  for  these  materials is varied,

including waste-generators {households, businesses, and industry), waste planners, and

waste  managers.   It  is  as  imperative  to inculcate  the  ethics  of  integrated  waste

management into the public works official as it is the homeowner.

     Many excellent educational materials have already been developed by some states,

localities,  public  interest  groups,  and trade associations.    A comprehensive educa-

tional program should, at a minimum, address the  following areas and audiences:
     o    Pamphlets and brochures for the  general public, describing  the components
          and concepts of Integrated waste management, the risks and costs associated
          with  various  management options, and questions  that  citizens should  ask
          about the wastes they generate and waste management in their communities.
          Brochures should also emphasize questions  citizens should  ask themselves
          about the waste they generate and should encourage citizens to conduct waste
          audits on their household wastes.

     o    Curricula for school  children and teenagers  that not only explain different
          waste management methods  and issues,  but also  incorporate municipal waste
          issues into  a variety  of subject areas  (e.g.,  arithmetic  problems)  in order
          to  raise  general  consciousness.   Such  educational  materials could also
          include coloring books, videos, and field trips.

     o    Materials and forums  to inform the design and  manufacturing industries of
          the importance of source reduction and the design of products and packaging
          with an eye toward the eventual safe disposal or recycling of the waste.

     o    Materials to  encourage  participation in recycling.   Collection and separa-
          tion methods for  glass,  metals, paper and plastics,  by  both households and
          businesses,  would be stressed.   Other materials  could include pamphlets
          explaining the  cost  savings associated with recycling  process  and scrap
          wastes in industry.   Materials could also  include  bumper stickers,  posters,
          and billboards.

     o    Informational pamphlets  explaining the true costs  of  waste management.
          These would be  used by waste handlers, local governments and citizens for
          making more informed decisions.
                                      - 29 -

     EPA will collect existing materials and foster development materials necessary to
fill the gaps In general educational materials.

Data Collection and Research and Development

     Adequate and accurate  data are vital underpinnings to any municipal  solid waste
program.  We cannot  evaluate the progress in meeting national or local goals without
data.  Adequate data allows us to make informed decisions and prevent undue risks from
waste management.  Important data gaps that must be filled in include characterization
of the waste stream  and waste management practices.  A comprehensive research  and
development program is necessary to continue upgrading the quality of waste management
practices.   Industry  and all  levels  of  government  must  forge a partnership for con-
ducting research and development In all areas of municipal waste management.  Industry
especially can assume  a leadership role in the areas of source reduction and recycling
technologies by  finding substitutes  for toxic materials  in  products, reducing  the
volume of material in products, and increasing recycling practices and technologies.

•Characterize the Waste Stream and Waste Management Practices-
     The Federal and state governments should gather summary data generated by the
public and private sectors on  waste  characteristics and management practices.   This
data  should  be used  to trace national trends' and facilitate short- and long-term
planning.  All levels  of government  should  institute databases for  tracking volumes
and types of wastes  in order to  facilitate  planning  at the  state   and   local  level.
This  characterization  should  study  individual constituents  in the  municipal solid
waste stream to determine progress in source reduction  and  recycling and targets for
significant volume and risk reduction.

-Research and Development-
     Research and development is needed in technical areas related to combustion (ash
and air emissions),  landfilling, recycling technologies,  designing  for effective  waste
                                      - 30 -

management (e.g.,  reducing toxics,  increasing recyclability and  durability) and source
reduction.   More work is  also  necessary  to  further characterize  the  risks associated
with various waste management options.  This includes characterizing  this effects on
global climate.

     EPA is developing a  national agenda for research and development necessary to
augment what is currently underway.   EPA will  coordinate its  initiative closely  with
those of private industry, states and academia.  In cooperation with these groups,  EPA
will generate a  national research agenda providing  for  coordinated  studies in various
areas such as  the  assessment of  emerging  commercial  technologies,  appropriate
municipal waste  combustor operating conditions and air emissions control technology,
appropriate management of combustor residuals, improved landfill design and operation,
improved  siting  and   monitoring   methods,  improved  recycling  techniques,   and
identification of  substitute  materials for toxics  in  products.   In addition,  EPA will
continue to involve other parties in its research efforts.

Establish Systems to Disseminate Information  and Assistance
Some states, trade
associations, and public
interest groups have
taken the initiative to
form state or regional
"libraries" or
telephone "hotlines" on
a variety of waste
management subjects.
                                 Although many excellent educational and technical
                            materials, expertise, and data exist, systems  for sharing
                            these  materials,  data  and  expertise are  sadly  lacking.
                            Some  states,  trade  associations,   and  public  interest
                            groups  have  taken  the  initiative to   form  state  or
                            regional  "libraries"  or  telephone  "hotlines"   on  a
                            variety  of  waste management  subjects.   However,  a
systematic, nationwide information-sharing mechanism for all waste management subjects
and  audiences does not  currently exist.   This lack of a nationwide system results in
relatively  few people  accessing the  technical and informational materials that they
need.   Another  result is  duplication of  effort by  organizations  developing materials
that, unknown to them, already exist.
                                       - 31 -

'National Clearinghouse-
     A national clearinghouse will provide the mechanism for citizens, government and
other organizations to  request and receive  materials on  any  subject  related to
municipal waste.   The  clearinghouse will  act  as a distribution  center  for  materials,
and  may develop some ..of  these .materials.  Materials for distribution by the clearing-
house would include those  educational and technical guidances and results of research
and  development  mentioned earlier  under this Objective, bibliographies of available
literature In different subject areas, and materials developed by the Federal govern-
ment,   states,   municipalities,   public   interest   groups,   trade  associations,   and

     EPA,  in partnership  with another entity such  as a  university,  public  interest
group, or trade association,  will  partially fund the clearinghouse,  at the outset, but
the  clearinghouse  should   become  nearly  self-sustaining.    EPA  could   fund the
clearinghouse through a variety of mechanisms Including seed money  to a university, a
public  Interest  group,  governmental  associations or  other  nonprofit  organizations.
EPA's Office of Research and Development,  or the Agency's RCRA Hotline could also be
Instrumental  In  running a  clearinghouse.  EPA  is looking  at funding  from existing

-"Peer Matching" Program-
     As part of the clearinghouse concept, a ''peer matching" program would match the
expertise available  in local communities,  trade  groups,  states, Indian  Tribes,  EPA
regional  offices, or universities to waste managers in other communities in need of
assistance.   Such a program would effectively use existing resources to better manage
municipal solid waste.  For example, a community wishing to design  and implement a
curbslde collection program for  recyclable  materials  could  use the peer matching
program to tap into the expertise of a community with a similar program.  The program
would  function as a  "database"  of  people  and experience to  match  the needs of
communities seeking assistance.
                                       - 32  -

-Other Information-sharing Mechanlsms-
     In addition  to  the  large-scale programs outlined  above, many mechanisms  for
delivering information on waste management may be useful at the national, regional,
state, tribal and local level.   These smaller  systems focus  on particular  audiences, a
certain subject area, or a certain message, and include the following:

     o    Accessing  existing organizations and their  networks of constituents, such as
          Keep America  Beautiful,  the  Governmental Refuse Collection and Disposal
          Association, National Association  of  Counties,  National League  of  Cities,
          and many more
     o    Magazine  and  newspaper articles,   radio and television  shows  and  adver-
          tisements to raise awareness of waste management and responsibilities
     o    Itemized tax bills,  quarterly  reports, or  "garbage bills"  to  educate the
          waste generator on costs of waste management
     o    Public meetings and hearings on waste management issues
     o    Labeling of products by industry as to proper disposal methods.

     EPA has worked with  the Environmental  Defense  Fund to generate  a national
advertisement campaign on recycling.

Summary of Participants in Increasing Available Information

     Technical  and  educational materials and data collection  methods  should  be
developed  by EPA,   states,  Tribes, municipalities,  public  interest organizations,  all
industry (waste management,  design and manufacturing, secondary materials) and trade
associations.  All parties have expertise in a range  of  waste management areas and
should  contribute to developing  needed  materials.    EPA will  tap  into existing
materials, where  possible and develop materials  through  in-house expertise and/or
grants  to other organizations  and universities.  For  example, in developing a  model
methodology to calculate both the true costs of waste management methods and the costs
avoided by choosing one method over another, EPA can take advantage of methodologies
already developed by various groups, and  compile them into a general model with  an
                                      - 33  -

accompanying sensitivity analysis to indicate the most important  components of the
cost equations.  EPA will formulate a research and  development agenda, using input
from outside parties.

     For Information-sharing  mechanisms, as mentioned previously, EPA will plan  and
provide seed money for the national clearinghouse and peer matching program in order
to  assure  national distribution  and  accessibility.    State,  tribal  and  local  govern-
ments,  being  closer  to the  generator of waste, are  often in the best position to
target  messages  and  audiences  for educational   materials.   Incorporating public
education  programs  into  the state,  tribal  and  local  planning  process,  especially
                            materials and forums related to  siting any  new municipal
                            solid  waste  management facility,  allows  for  consistent
                            and comprehensive programs.   State,  tribal  and  local
                            governments should also incorporate materials related to
                            solid waste issues and  management  into the public  and
                            private school  curricula,  and  pass  on  to  the  waste
                            generators the cost of waste management in the community.
Some local governments have imposed waste management "user charges" on households
and businesses based  on the amount of garbage generated. These  "pay as you throw"
policies  can  show the  citizens,  in very concrete terms, the cost of their  garbage
production.  EPA needs to do more  research on the  effect of user charges on illegal
dumping and littering.   Finally, if people  in the  community are concerned about
emissions or nuisance  factors from nearby facilities, local officials should keep them
apprised  of   monitoring results or   other  actions through  regular  bulletins,  the
newspaper, or other media.
Some local governments
have imposed waste
management "user
charges," levied on
households and businesses
based on the amount of
garbage generated....
"pay as you throw."
                                      - 34 -

                                TABLE 1.


Develop Educational Materials

    Begin compiling available materials   	NOVEMBER  1988

    Catalog/bibliography of available materials    	MAY        1989

    Identify educational materials needed    	JULY       1989

    Review cost methodologies for true cost accounting	AUGUST    1989

Develop Technical Materials

    Review and summarize state tire management programs	JANUARY   1990

    Begin compiling available materials	NOVEMBER  1988

    Identify technical materials needed      	JULY       1989

    Publish decision-makers guide for local waste managers  ....  SEPTEMBER  1989

Collect Data and Establish Research and Development Agenda

    National research conference	FEBRUARY  1989

Establish a Clearinghouse

    Establish functions for a clearinghouse      	JANUARY   1989

    Clearinghouse operational	DECEMBER  1989

Establish a Peer Matching Program

    Program operational	JULY       1989
                                  - 35  -

                   II.   OBJECTIVE:  INCREASE PLANNING

     Planning by any level of government and the waste management industry is vital for
managing all municipal solid waste in a safe and effective way.  Planning ensures that
future capacity needs are taken into account when establishing programs.  Planning also
ensures  that  orphan  wastes  such   as  tires   and  lead-acid  batteries  are  handled
comprehensively, rather than with the current piecemeal approach.

Develop State and Local Strategies for Integrated Waste Management

     State  strategies for managing municipal solid waste are important  in  addressing
the current problems faced by communities within the  state,  and in forecasting and
                            preventing future  problems.     State  strategies   force
                            governments  to look beyond the single solution to today's
                            problem to a comprehensive waste management plan that
                            will head off or  respond  to  future  problems.     Indian
                            Tribes,   which  manage   their  municipal   solid   waste
                            independently  from   the   states,  must  also   generate
                            comprehensive strategies for managing solid waste.
State strategies force
governments to look
beyond the singular
solution of today's
problem to a
comprehensive waste
management plan...
     States and  tribes should  plan  for  overall integrated  solid waste  management.
This  planning should be  done by  collecting and  evaluating local plans, setting
statewide goals for waste handling,  and developing  policies  or legislative initiatives
that help  the state  attain these  goals.   Indian  Tribes should generate  plans  for
Individual  reservations  by seeking assistance from Tribal associations, states, or  the
Federal government.  In planning, states and tribes  should work with waste management
and secondary materials  industries  to access  existing  networks  for  collection and
marketing of waste and recyclable materials.
                                       - 36 -

     State  and tribal  integrated waste management strategies  should  contain at  least
the following components:
     o    Goals for source reduction and recycling of materials

     o    Materials  and  markets  that  will  be   targets  for  source  reduction  and

     o    Market  development plans  for  secondary materials, including intermediate
          markets (brokers,  scrap  dealers  and   processors),  final  markets  (manu-
          facturers) ,  and use of existing networks of secondary materials dealers

     o    Composting plans, including collection, processing (backyard, municipal and
          commercial) and marketing methods of yard waste.

     o    Short and long-term capacity assurance

     o    Calculations for properly sizing combustion  facilities,  after  accounting  for
          waste diverted through recycling

     o    Land-use planning for siting new facilities

     o    Dispute resolution methods to prevent stalemates in siting any type of waste
          management facility

     o    Plans for  collecting and  managing  "orphan" wastes  such  as  tires  and
          lead-acid batteries

     o    Education  and technical assistance programs,  including  education  on true-
          cost accounting and cost avoidance, and risk assessment methodologies

     o    Methods for communicating to the public the results and methods of assessing
          risks of waste management alternatives

     o    Methods for ensuring public participation in decision making and planning

     o    Enforcement programs for design and operation of waste handling facilities

     o    Examination of state government procurement policies  to promote recycling
          and source reduction, and separation of recyclable goods

     o    Investigation  of  regional solutions on  a multistate basis, as well  as  an
          intrastate basis

     o    Plan for segregating, treating, transporting and disposing of medical waste
                                      -37 -

     State planning conferences and regional workshops to provide a forum for states
to share  their  expertise,  programs,  and  problems will  encourage states to  plan.
Some conferences and workshops will be sponsored by private organizations.   Others
will be sponsored by EPA.  For example, the Association of State and Territorial Solid
Waste Management Officials (ASTSWAMO)  will sponsor a  conference in July of  1989;
EPA will  sponsor several  regional workshops  in  1989.   In  addition,  EPA regional
offices  will  review strategies  voluntarily submitted  by states and tribes  and offer
technical assistance upon request.   Review of state strategies will  help  EPA develop
technical guidances and areas for peer matching.

•Local Planning-
     Planning should be done at the local level as well, by:

     o    Characterizing the waste stream
     o    Setting municipal goals for recycling and source reduction
     o    Evaluating local markets
     o    Identifying   incentives  and  disincentives  for  local   integrated   waste
     o    Planning for "orphan" wastes
     o    Implementing true-cost accounting.

     Plans  should indicate the  roles  of  the  public  and  the  private  sector  in
Implementing waste handling and other programs.
                                      - 38 -

                                TABLE 2.
Develop State Strategies

    First regional workshop
    EPA reviews selected state plans to provide
    Technical Assistance Program    ........  ."'.  .  . .  .  .  AUGUST
                                 - 39 -

By slowing the rate at
which products are
discarded, waste handling
and disposal capacity can
be extended.

     Source reduction, that is, minimizing toxics and volume in products and extending
their useful  life, is  a  key component for meeting national  and local goals.   Removal
of toxics  enhances the  safety of recycling, landfilling, and combustion.   Lead and
cadmium are examples of known toxicants, present in variable quantities in many common
products.  Both lead and cadmium have been found in high  concentrations in municipal
waste  combustor ash and leachate  from  municipal  solid  waste landfills.    Volume
reduction  helps to  eke out remaining capacity,  thereby easing  the  "crisis" situation
                            and allowing time for long-term planning.  Although there
                            are  many  players in source  reduction,  the design and
                            manufacturing industry can provide a leadership  role in
                            instigating   change  and  increasing  source   reduction
                            activities.    In addition,  the  Federal  government can
                            provide  consistency  through regulation  or other national
Initiatives.   Important  source reduction  activities  include minimizing  toxics, mini-
mizing  volume,  increasing procurement of  source-reduced goods  and  investigating
ongoing source reduction activities.

Minimize Toxic Constituents and Materials in Municipal Solid Waste

     Minimizing the amount of toxic constituents that enter the municipal solid waste
stream is  important in making every waste handling and management alternative safer.
As discussed previously,  minimizing  toxic materials, such  as lead and  cadmium,  can
reduce metals  in combustion ash residues, decrease the pollution potential  of landfill
leachate and  combustor stack emissions, and increase the safety of  recycling waste
materials.   Risk assessments are  necessary, however,  to determine if reducing risks at
the  disposal point  in a  product's lifecycle  causes increased risks  from  the  product at
other points In its lifecycle, for example, during manufacture.
                                       - 40 -

     Products should not contain lead and cadmium when less toxic materials can be
feasibly substituted.   Lead and  cadmium, although not  the  only  toxic elements or
compounds found in municipal waste,  are good first  candidates for examining the
feasibility  of substitution  because high  concentrations  of  both metals are found  in
combustor ash.   Considerations  for substitution  include:   the extent to  which the
metal is at a  level or in  a form that  could lead  to significant release upon  disposal,
technical  feasibility,  impact on product performance or  cost,, and financial burden to
industry and the consumer. Industry should evaluate whether lead and cadmium can be
feasibly replaced, while EPA will study  the  sources of lead and cadmium and determine
regulatory and nonregulatory options.

     Constituents other than lead and cadmium should be  studied for their potential to
release when disposed.  These constituents  could include  those that have been  found in
municipal solid waste landfill leachate  or air emissions,  or combustor  stack emissions
and may include  other  metals and inorganic compounds, and organics.  For example,
source reduction  policies applied to household hazardous waste can help decrease the
toxicity of this waste,  as well as minimize the  volume.

     Where substitution of less toxic materials  would be burdensome,  Industry should
test  products  for their release  and/or   exposure  when  disposed  of  or recycled.
Labeling those products that  have been tested for disposal characteristics would be
useful in informing the consumer and  the  waste  handler how those products are best
handled, recycled, or disposed.

Reversing the Increase in Per Capita Generation of Municipal Solid
Waste Discards

-Manufacture of Products-
     Minimizing the volume of products which are discarded into municipal solid waste
will help  reduce  the  per  capita increase  in  waste generation,  thereby changing
"business  as usual" in our society's garbage  habits.   In  the  long term, our nation
must strive to  decrease  our current per capita generation rate of 3.5  pounds per day,
                                      - 41  -

which  Is the highest In the world.  In the short term,  we  have established a more
modest,  but achievable goal of stopping the Increase In our per  capita generation
rate.   If our per capita generation rate In the year 2000 were  3.5 pounds per  day
rather than the projected 3.94 pounds per day,*  our total gross discards would be  171
million  tons, rather  than the projected 193  million tons.  A decrease to 3.0 pounds
per day  would bring us below  150 million tons.  In many  instances, products, con-
tainers, and packaging  should be made with less material.  In other  instances, the use
of more material may be  needed to  facilitate  reuse, thereby extending  useful  life.
Thus,  In developing products,  manufacturers should  consider the  amount  of waste
generated In the disposal of their products and packaging, and should look for ways to
reduce those wastes.

     By  slowing the rate at which  products are discarded, waste handling and disposal
capacity can be extended.  Slowing the rate of generation of discards can  be done by
using  products  with longer useful lives,  or  that  are  reusable, repairable or  can be
remanufactured.  For example,  if the average consumer throws away only 16 tires  in
his/her  lifetime instead of  32,  then the  amount of tires in the landfill,  combustor,
or tire  pile is  decreased by a  factor of two.   With approximately 220 million  tires
being  discarded  every  year  and 2 to  3 billion  tires already stockpiled  In potentially
harmful  monstrous heaps, this reduction in waste generation  could have  a tremendous
Impact.  In  designing products, manufacturers should consider whether  the  products,
containers,  and packages have longer lives,  are  reusable, or can  be composted,  in
order to reduce the  amount of waste that is generated. Similarly,  consumers  should be
mindful of these considerations in purchasing products.

     States have shown interest in economic incentives, including  taxes, tax credits,
and charges, and regulatory approaches to promote source reduction activities such  as
minimizing toxicity  and volume of municipal solid waste.  Although federal  economic
Incentives  and regulatory  approaches  may  be  useful   in  the   future,  EPA  is not
 •Characteristics of Municipal Solid  Waste  in the United  STates,  1960-2000.   Franklin
 Associates, Ltd., 1988.
                                       - 42 -

recommending their adoption at this time.  Rather, EPA believes that these potentially
useful tools require  further assessment.   For example,  the Agency will  assess the
efficiency of  state and local  charges  and taxes  in  reducing both the  volume  and
toxicity of  the waste.   These  charges,  either fixed  or  variable,  can be assessed  at
any transaction point  from the  manufacture  of  raw virgin materials through final
disposal.  There are a number of factors influencing the efficacy of a charge  program
that EPA will examine,  including the ability of industry and the public to respond  to
the fees,  the ease of assessing and collecting the charges,  and the extent to  which
such  charges change behavior.   The  study  also  will examine  the use of economic
incentives to promote source reduction.

     To  spur  corporate  involvement, a corporate  recognition program  is planned for
companies and industries that have succeeded  in reducing the volume and/or toxicity  of
materials used in  their products.   In addition, meetings between the chief executive
officers of corporations  and EPA senior officials will be conducted in order  to edu-
cate corporate policy makers to source reduction, recycling and other waste management

     Organizing "Design for Source Reduction" workshops with design  and packaging
engineers,  manufacturers,  retailers,   wholesalers and  distributors and  EPA will  help
build  consideration of the  waste management characteristics of their product  into the
corporate design and manufacturing process.  Many factors are considered in design and
manufacturing products;  the Agency simply wants the waste management characteristics
to be a part of that consideration.

-Waste Audits-                .
     Businesses  should  conduct  source reduction  audits  to  find  ways  in which
operations  could  be  altered to  generate  less  or to  reuse wastes,  including any
nonhazardous solid process wastes that are  entering the municipal solid waste  stream.
                                      -  43 -

For example, audits could suggest ways to reduce or reuse office and computer paper,
to compost yard wastes generated by landscaping and construction companies, and reuse
or recycle  any process trimmings (e.g.,  leather,  rubber, plastic,  paper, wood) that
are handled  in the  municipal  solid waste stream.   These commercial wastes often
constitute a significant  portion  of the  municipal waste stream.  Therefore, localities
should target these  wastes  and encourage  industry to divert them,  where  practical,
through source reduction and reuse.

-Backyard Composting-
     Backyard composting can  be a significant source reduction technique by reducing
the amount of waste that must be collected and managed.  (Compostable waste that must
be managed by a waste handler or recycler in a  central  composting  facility  can  be
considered a form of recycling, whereas backyard composting can be considered reuse of
a  material  and therefore  a type of  source reduction  activity.    The distinction  is
rather arbitrary, and thus  is only  for the  purpose  of  discussion.)    Public educa-
tional materials, school presentations,  and  workshops can  encourage  backyard  com-
posting of food and yard wastes by the homeowner.   In addition, banning yard waste
from landfills and combustors may provide a local incentive for composting.

Increase Procurement of Products and Packages with Source Reduction

      By purchasing  products  that   have   source   reduction  attributes  (less  toxic
materials,  less volume  of  material  per unit  product,  longer useful life), corporations
and government can provide a leadership role for source  reduction.  Procurement helps
to stimulate awareness of  markets  for these goods,  which may  provide  incentives  to
Industry to increase  manufacture of these products and to phase out products that do
not meet these specifications for source reduction.
                                       - 44  -

 Investigate Potential and Ongoing Source Reduction Policies
 and Activities
      Because source  reduction  is a relatively new and difficult practice for municipal
 solid  waste,*  source reduction  policies  must  be fully  evaluated  to determine  their
 efficacy and impacts.  For example, a  study could be  done of the actual reduction of
 waste in a household when purchasing habits are altered in favor of products designed
 for source reduction.   Or, a pilot source  reduction audit program  for businesses could
 measure the results of source reduction efforts on the waste  generated.   Other areas
 of interest include:

      o   The use of photodegradable  (degraded by  sunlight)  and  biodegradable pro-
          ducts and their impact on the environment and whether they are successful in
          alleviating solid waste and litter problems
      o   A  database of source reduction related activities, including educational and
          legislative  initiatives   occurring  in  the  United  States   and  abroad  (also
          examining the reasons these  activities were  undertaken  and their degree  of
      o   The   effectiveness  of  programs  that use  fees  to  create  incentives  for
          households  and  businesses to  reduce the quantity  of waste  they  produce
          (including the effects on illegal dumping).

 Summary of Participants in Increasing Source Reduction Activities

     Obviously  the  most  important   participants  in  increasing  source  reduction
 activities are  the manufacturing  and design industries.  They can assume a corporate
 leadership  role  in the  United  States   to  produce products that  have  less  toxicity,
 generate less  waste,  have  longer  useful life spans,  are reusable,  repairable,  or have
 other qualities that enhance waste  management.  In addition, trade associations should
 hold conferences and workshops  for member companies focusing on design for  effective
 waste management.
"Some  progress  has been made in  "waste  minimization" or  "source reduction" of
industrial process  waste (both hazardous and nonhazardous waste).  Source reduction for
municipal solid waste will build on those efforts.
                                      - 45  -

     Federal action to require removal of known toxic constituents from products may
be necessary.   In  addition,  Federal  action may be  necessary to  ensure  that manu-
facturers test these products,  including household hazardous  waste, and materials  for
their potential to  release toxic constituents when landfilled,  combusted, or recycled.
EPA will evaluate the use of the Toxic  Substances  Control  Act (TSCA),  as  well  as
Investigate  broader  legislative mandates for  authority  for  these requirements.    In
addition, EPA will continue to sponsor an annual national household  hazardous waste
conference to promote source reduction  and  proper  collection and handling of these

     EPA will  work with the Department of Commerce and other agencies to investigate
methods for stimulating  industry  to produce products with source reduction attributes.
For  example,  a corporate recognition  program which would spotlight manufacturers,
businesses,  and  industries  which engage in source  reduction  activities  (e.g.,  mini-
mizing waste  volume and toxics generated) will be examined.   In addition,  EPA  will
sponsor studies on current state programs aimed at source reduction.  As part of EPA's
report to Congress on plastics,  EPA will address the  benefits and concerns associated
with degradable  plastics,  and will  seek to resolve  the many  questions about  their
efficacy in solving solid waste management problems.

     Industry,  all  governments  (Federal, state,  and local) and  the  public  should
purchase products that minimize waste, are less toxic, last longer,  or can be repaired
or remanufactured.  In the Federal government,  EPA will be exploring, with the General
Services Administration  and other  Federal  Agencies,  appropriate  mechanisms to
accomplish this goal.
                                       - 46 -

                                  TABLE 3.

Minimize Toxic Constituents and Materials in Waste

     Determine which products, if any, are
      sources of lead and cadmium	JANUARY    1989

     Screen for potential substitutes for lead and cadmium     ....  AUGUST     1989

     Evaluate regulatory and non-regulatory options for
     restriction on, or substitution for lead and cadmium
     in products	  NOVEMBER  1989

     Initiate investigation of other toxic constituents
     in products    	. . .  .	DECEMBER  1989

     Evaluate need for Federal testing guidelines	  NOVEMBER  1989

Minimize the Amount of Waste Generated

     Study on economic incentives   	DECEMBER  1989

     Establish corporate recognition program    	SEPTEMBER  1989

     Design for source reduction workshops    	JULY        1989

Increase Procurement of Products With Source Reduction Attributes

     Form Federal Task Group to study procurement
      (same group as for procurement of recycled products)   ....  NOVEMBER  1989

     Study of possible changes in procurement policies    	JUNE        1990

Study Ongoing or Potential Source Reduction Policies

     Degradable Plastic Study by General Accounting Office    ....  SEPTEMBER  1988

     Initiate database for tracking state source
     reduction programs .  .  .	JUNE        1989
                                   - 47 -

                    TABLE 3. (Continued)

EPA Report to Congress on Plastics	JUNE       1989

Initiate user fee study     	NOVEMBER  1989

Household Hazardous Waste Conference	NOVEMBER  1989
                           - 48 -

One of the many
impediments to more
recycling is the wide
fluctuation of market
availability for many
secondary materials.

     Recycling  waste  materials  diverts  potentially  large volumes  of wastes  from
 landfills  and combustors.   Thus, recycling  is absolutely  vital to  achieving local and
                            national  goals.   Recycling  is also important  because it
                            stops  unnecessary  depletion   of    valuable   natural
                            resources.    Finally,  recycling  is  an  excellent  educa-
                            tional  tool  to  raise  awareness  in   individuals  of  all
                            types of waste management, because everyone must become
                            conscious of what they do and do not discard. In  order
                            to increase  recycling,  markets must  be available,  more
 recyclables need to be separated, collected and marketed, a National  Recycling Council
 should be formed,  incentives and disincentives for safe recycling should be  examined,
 and waste exchanges should  be  promoted.   Of  course,  it  is essential that,  in the
 development of recycling programs, risks to  human health and the environment are
 minimized from the recycling.

 Stimulate Markets for Secondary Materials

     One of the major impediments to more recycling is the wide fluctuation of  market
 availability  for  many secondary materials.   We need  to stabilize  both markets and
 supply so that  they complement one  another.   Because  recycling is often  driven  by
 demand, we need to stimulate the demand for these secondary materials to help avoid
 gluts in the marketplace and to coax change in our current  industrial infrastructure.
A variety of actions may result in market growth.  These include the promotion of the
procurement of recycled goods; market development studies for numerous commodities;
nonprofit regional  market  information  councils;  procurement  guidelines for recycled
products;  better  separation  and  collection  of  plastics  and  lead-acid batteries;  a
National  Recycling  Council;  studying liability disincentives and incentives;  and waste
                                      - 49 -

•Establish Incentives-
     States, Including economic  development  agencies,  have shown  interest  in  tax
credits  and  loans  for  industries  using   or   processing  secondary   materials,  or
purchasing  recycled  goods  as  incentives  for  increasing these  practices,  thereby
stimulating and. stabilizing markets.  Incentives  must be  targeted carefully to have a
real  impact.   State and local  incentives could  include  tax credits  (including property
taxes)  and  other fees  in  order  to  encourage  existing  industries to  use secondary
materials in the manufacture  of products, or to lure secondary materials industries to
communities that lack  markets for their collected recyclables.   Similar  tax  incentives
could be  used for industries  and  businesses that purchase recycled goods,  as these
companies are promoting stable final  markets.   Other incentives include low-interest
loans for construction  or expansion of  secondary materials industries,  and  for busi-
nesses that purchase recycled goods.  These economic incentives may be Instrumental in
changing  individual and corporate behavior and will  be included  in  the  study on
economic Incentives noted earlier in the section on source reduction.

     Each level  of  government   should seek  to  identify and  delineate  economic
disincentives to  processing  or  purchasing  secondary  materials.   Although  many
comprehensive analyses were done in the 1970's, tax laws and the economy have changed
In the intervening years, creating a need to update our information.

     Freight rates and  other transportation  issues  are often  cited  as  significant
disincentives to  procuring  secondary materials.   Given  that  transportation  laws  and
policies have changed  since the 1970's  (when extensive  studies  were done), EPA will
work with the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Department of Transportation to
Investigate  whether   transportation   issues  significantly  affect  the   marketing  of
secondary materials,  and whether changes  to  these  policies are necessary to remove
disincentives to creating stable markets.

     Market development  studies would be valuable in  determining the  regional,
national,  and  international growth potential for the secondary (waste)  paper market.
                                       - 50 -

 These studies, done at the  state,  regional,  or Federal  level, should  evaluate ways to
 expand paper markets  on a  level concomitant with increased collection and separation
 of waste  paper.  EPA will conduct such a study, as well as similar studies on compost
 aluminum and glass.  Market development studies  for other secondary materials would
 identify ways to stimulate markets for  these  commodities.   All market development
 studies should solicit  input  from the existing local  and national secondary materials

 -Create Regional Market Councils-
     Development  of  nonprofit regional  market  information  councils  can enhance
 communication  among states and between localities so as to improve marketing  and
 information-sharing regarding secondary materials and compost.  To be effective, these
 councils  must  build  on  the existing markets and networks in  their region.   Such
 organizations can match markets with sellers and provide information on the amount and
 type  of  processing  necessary,  the  long-term availability of  the market,  and  the
 volumes that the  market will bear.  In addition,  regional  market councils  can study
 regional market development and institute policies to  enhance  or stabilize markets.
 Membership  in  such an  organization should  include representatives  from  the  waste
 management, manufacturing, and secondary  materials  industries, states, and public
 interest groups.

 -More Procurement of Recycled Goods-
     Procurement of recycled goods is an important way to stimulate  final markets for
 recycled products.   Organizations that  purchase large amounts  of products, such as
 governments, corporations  and  industry,  can be especially helpful in stimulating
 markets.   Purchases  of recycled goods by consumers provide a clear signal  to  the
 manufacturing industry to produce and advertise recycled products.

     Governments and  corporations should issue procurement guidelines for recycled
goods.  Candidate products  include numerous papers  (office,  computer,  newsprint,
corrugated,  tissue),  glass, plastic,  compost,  aluminum,  steel,  oil,  tires,  batteries,
                                      - 51 -

etc.  For example, the Federal government will study whether procurement guidelines
should be  issued  for  materials in addition  to  the ones already  issued for  paper,
re-refined  oils  and  tires, and the one in  process  for  insulation  materials.   One
example would be used automotive parts, or remanufactured engines or electronics.  All
levels of government could  procure compost for use along roads and in landscaping
public lands.  EPA and GSA will form a working group with other Federal agencies to
develop education and implementation programs for existing, planned, and  potential
guidelines In Federal agencies.

    o  Yard Waste - Special Emphasis
     Composting of  yard waste is a key element in the Agenda for Action because yard
waste accounts for  nearly one-fifth  of municipal  solid waste; it is a beneficial use;
and the technologies, which vary from low-technology to high technology can be readily
tailored to  meet the needs  of each community.  As  with recycling of other wastes,
composting of yard waste  is often  cost-effective, especially when avoided  costs are

    o  Co-Composting
     Compost from  processed food and yard waste, municipal waste and co-composted
municipal solid waste and sewage, and sludge is also an option which localities should
explore.  In Europe, composting facilities have been successfully  operated for over 30
years.  For example, in Sweden, over one-fourth of all solid waste is composted.

     At the same time,  it is important to  assure  that  all  composting  facilities are
run in an environmentally sound way and that the compost, itself, does not cause any
significant  environmental problems.   Markets  for  compost  also  need to be further
developed.   Quality guidance for compost products are needed to  provide national
consistency and to assure that the compost will perform  safely and adequately.  EPA
will  establish  guidelines for compost facilities  and for compost.   The Agency  will
also do a market development study for compost.
                                      - 52 -

 Better Separation, Collection and Processing of Materials

      To  reach a goal of  increased recycling,  more  materials heed to be  separated,
 collected, processed, marketed and manufactured into new products.  We have discussed
 ways to  stimulate the two final steps  (marketing, manufacture)  of recycling,  but we
 also need to stimulate the first three steps.

 -Local Programs-
      Collection, separation, and processing are essentially local  issues, and as  such,
 will not  be  discussed in  detail in this report.   In  general, the more convenient
 collection is  for the  waste generator  and for  the  waste  handler,  the higher  the
 participation rate and amount of materials collected.

     Many communities  and states  have  devised successful  mandatory  or  voluntary
 collection and separation programs.  Again, the  issue of mandatory versus  voluntary
 programs  is a local or state issue, depending  on the community's or state's needs.
 Other local aspects of collection include the  design  of an  education  program and
 choosing  among curbside  pickup,  drop-off  centers,  and materials recovery facilities.
 Local recycling  coordinators can contribute significantly to  the  success  of  recycling
 programs.  Training of  these coordinators  in  education,  collection,  processing and
 marketing is  therefore  very important.   EPA  will generate  guidance on training of
 recycling coordinators.

 -Special Recyclables-
     Two  commodities currently  are difficult to collect and/or process,  but may be
beneficial   to  recycle-plastics and lead-acid batteries.   In  addition,  the processing
of  scrap  metals by shredding   (including  appliances  and  automobiles)  can present
special problems.
                                      - 53 -

     Plastics  are promising materials  for  increased recovery  and recycling; however,
collection  and  separation  of  different  types  of  plastic  are  difficult,  and  hamper
current recycling efforts.  The voluntary coding  of  plastic types undertaken  by the
plastics Industry is  a  helpful first  step.   Until plastic  collection  is  substantially
Improved,  recycling  of plastics will  continue  to  lag.   Industry should step up  its
study of the problems and options for collection of plastics for recycling.

     Lead-acid batteries are  a problem  to collect,  process and dispose of.  Although
many  are recycled, a significant number  are not.  Many battery recyclers are closing
their doors, and many retailers and auto shops will not accept used batteries from the
consumer. We must avoid potential risk to human health and the environment from the
lead and  acid in these uncollected (and  possibly mismanaged)  batteries.   Regulatory
and nonregulatory options for recovery of  lead-acid batteries,  including  a  mandatory
"take-back," by manufacturers will be  investigated  to  find  practical  ways to collect
them for safe recycling.

     "White  goods" (appliances)  and automobiles have been collected effectively by
retailers and  the scrap industry.   Recently, however,  the  potential  problems  asso-
ciated  with  the shredding  of these  goods may be detrimental  to  this important
recycling  sector.  Possible contamination of the shredder residue with polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants must be investigated.   We must ensure that
these  processes present  little risk  to human  health  and  the environment,  while
assuring that the beneficial recycling of these materials continues.

Establish a  National Recycling Council

     A national advisory  council  on recycling  policies should be formed, comprised
of representatives  from the secondary materials  and waste management industries,
public Interest groups, states, localities  and regional marketing cooperatives.   This
council would  stay abreast  of  technical, regulatory,  and legislative  policies and
Initiatives that can  enhance or hamper recycling  efforts.  The advisory  council  would
also   measure  national progress  in  attaining   goals  of  Increased  recycling.    In
                                        - 54 -

addition, a national council  can explore  international markets for secondary materials
and study world trends. This council should obtain funding through its membership.

Examine Incentives and Disincentives For Safe Recycling

     Industry  has argued  that  potential  liability under  Superfund may  inhibit  the
secondary materials and  recycling industries from  recycling materials  such as lead-
acid batteries, household hazardous waste, used  oil,  autos, and white goods  (refrig-
erators,  etc.).    These  secondary materials and recycling  facilities  may be  liable
because of the potentially toxic byproducts of processing,  including lead and cadmium,
and PCBs.

     Potential liability may provide a  disincentive for persons to  operate  a recycling
facility, but  also provides an important  incentive  for  persons to  properly manage
their  wastes.  EPA  should  review the  incentives  and  disincentives  affecting  these

Industrial and Commercial Waste Exchanges

     High volume homogeneous industrial or commercial wastes should be reused and
recycled  to  the  highest  degree possible.   As noted  previously, these nonhazardous
solid  wastes  can  often  end  up as municipal solid  waste,  taking  up valuable  landfill
capacity  or disturbing operations  at a combustion facility.   Waste exchanges  are an
important way to relay these wastes from the  point of generation to the market.   In
addition, these waste exchanges  can  often save companies significant costs  in dis-
posal.   Many regional  waste exchanges exist already.   Communities  and industries
should access these existing networks or form new exchanges for their areas.
                                      - 55 -

Summary of Participants in Increasing Recycling

•Participants for Stimulating Markets-
     Economic  incentives  and  disincentives should  be  reviewed by  all  levels  of
government and industry.   EPA  will update previous studies  on  economic  factors,
Including  transportation  disincentives to recycling  and potential economic  incentives
for  industries  processing  or using  secondary  materials  and  for  industries  that
purchase recycled goods.

     Market studies for secondary materials should be done by industry and all levels
of government. EPA will focus initially on paper and compost.

     Industry should convert manufacturing processes  to utilize  secondary materials to
a much greater extent, in order to stimulate secondary materials markets.

     Everyone  should purchase recycled goods  where practical.    EPA  will form  an
Agency Working Group to  foster federal procurement  of recycled goods.  This should
be followed by establishment of a multi-agency Federal task group,  made up of repre-
sentatives from EPA, the General  Services Administration,  the Department of Defense,
and other Federal agencies, to encourage Federal agencies to procure recycled  goods
and compost (e.g., National Park  Service), and study how procurement of these goods
may affect operations within the agencies.  EPA  has issued procurement guidelines  for
some commodities,  including paper and tires, and is developing guidelines for others.
The working group  will also formulate ways  for  agencies to enforce procurement
guidelines, to ensure that proper purchasing is occurring.

-Participants fn Better Separation, Collection and Processing-
     All levels of government should consider the merits of mandatory separation and
collection of recyclables.  An interagency working group will be convened to study the
feasibility of a comprehensive separation and collection  program for  Federal  Agen-
cies.  A  model program to educate employees  and encourage participation in paper
recycling Is under development by EPA.
                                       - 56 -

     Recycling in communities should be publicized by local governments and the waste
management industry through the news media, schools, workshops, etc. The secondary
materials  industries  should  publicize  their  availability  and existing  network  to  the
public and local government and should examine ways to expand their role in community

     Industry working with government should continue to investigate ways to collect
more plastics, while the Federal Government will Investigate systems  for assuring that
car  batteries  are  collected.    EPA will  evaluate  the  regulatory and nonregulatory
options for  promoting better  management of batteries.  Use  of  the Toxic Substances
Control Act will  be investigated.   Finally, EPA  will  evaluate  the  management  of
"fluff" residue from shredding of white goods, autos, and other metals.

-Participants in Waste Exchanges-
     States  and industry  should distribute  information  on existing  waste exchanges
through regional marketing councils and should assist local governments and industries
in matching  waste providers with recipients.

     Municipalities and the waste management industry should characterize their waste
streams and  meet  with  the  industries  that  contribute  their  solid  wastes  to  the
municipal solid waste stream.  Local governments and waste  handlers should  develop
local or regional waste exchanges and work with the industries at hand to  find  markets
or uses for this waste.
                                      - 57 -

                                 TABLE 4.

Stimulate Markets for Secondary Materials

    Study on existing economic and transportation disincentives
      to recycling	SEPTEMBER  1989

    Study on potential recycling incentives
      to encourage recycling   	DECEMBER   1989

    Market development study for paper  	SEPTEMBER  1989

    Market development study for compost	SEPTEMBER  1989

    Initiate guidelines for compost facilities       	NOVEMBER  1989

    Initiate guidelines for compost quality       	NOVEMBER  1989

    Form EPA Working Group for implementing procurement.  . .  .  NOVEMBER  1988

    Form Federal Task Group for implementing procurement ....  NOVEMBER  1989

    Final tire procurement guidelines     	NOVEMBER  1988

    Final Insulation materials procurement guidelines      	FEBRUARY   1989

    Study on procurement of other materials	AUGUST     1989

Better Separation, Collection Processing and Recycling
of Waste

    Initiate model training program for recycling coordinators    .  .  NOVEMBER  1989

    Review regulatory, non-regulatory options
      forbatteries    	AUGUST     1989

    Evaluate recycling of white goods and other metals    	ONGOING

    Form interagency work group on recycling and separation
      in Federal agencies    	AUGUST     1989

    Model education program for Federal agencies	JUNE        1989
                                   - 58 -

                          TABLE 4.  (Continued)

National Recycling Council

    Facilitate the formation of the National Council

Review Incentives and Disincentive of Liability

    Review of lead-acid batteries and metal-
      shredding byproducts	
                                - 59 -


     Combustion of municipal waste can be a viable waste management alternative for
many communities.  To Increase  the viability of this option, it is important to ensure
                           that combustors are designed, operated, and controlled to
                           minimize risks to human health and the environment from
                           both air emissions and  ash.  Options  for Improving the
                           safety of combustion include upgrading  combustor per-
                           formance  standards, Increasing education and  technical
                           assistance,  establishing  operator  training  and  certifi-
                           cation  programs,   and  evaluating  potential  bans on
                           combustion of some types of waste.
Combustion of waste can
be a viable waste
management alternative if
It Is designed, operated,
and controlled to
minimize risks to human
health and the
Upgrade Combustor Performance Standards and Ash Management

     The establishment  of  appropriate performance standards  for  municipal  waste
combustors  serves several  purposes, including protection of human health  and the
environment, consistency and efficiency in the design and operation of combustors, and
Increased public  confidence  In the  safety  of  combustors.  Standards for particulate
matter control from  combustors were initially  established in  the  1970's.   Since then,
pollution control technologies applicable to combustors have improved significantly.

     Considering these technological improvements and  other  information compiled
during the EPA's comprehensive study of municipal  waste combustion, EPA issued an
Advanced Notice  of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) announcing intentions to revise
standards for  combustors.   EPA  plans  to  issue both performance standards for  new
sources  and guidelines  for  states to  use  in  considering additional control require-
ments for  existing  sources.   These regulatory requirements  for  new  and  existing
                                      - 60 -

combustors should ensure that the public health and environment are protected through
the application of the best system of control technologies  available considering cost,
energy requirements, and other environmental considerations.

     The  current schedule calls for the new source  standards and  existing source
guidelines to be proposed in November 1989 and promulgated in December 1990.  In the
interim, EPA  has already taken  steps to  ensure that  new  sources  install the  best
available control  technologies.  In June 1987, EPA issued guidance to new source
permitting  authorities  that established the presumption that  best available  control
technologies   for  combustors  include  dry scrubbers,  efficient   particulate  control
equipment,  and  good  combustion  practices.   A recent survey  of  affected sources
demonstrated one hundred percent compliance with the June 1987 guidance.

-Ash Management-
     No combustor should be built without a plan for management  of the residual ash.
Such plans might  include  dedicated  landfill  cells with  special   pollution  controls,
stabilization,  or  contracts  for  recycling  the  ash  for  use  in   roadbeds.    Local
government should  require  a  plan  for safe  and effective ash  management  when
contracting for a combustion facility.

Education and Technical Assistance

     Education and technical assistance regarding the  combustion  of  municipal  solid
waste  are  important  in  increasing, the  safety  and  effectiveness  of  combustion.
Citizens who are more educated about the design and  operation  of combustors  can
better assist in the planning for local  waste  management, and may  be  more willing to
site properly designed and  operated combustors.  Operators  of  combustion facilities as
well  as local government can use technical assistance  offered by the Federal govern-
ment and industry in order to ensure safe and effective combustion of the waste.
                                      - 61 -

     All  levels of  government (local, state,  tribal,  and Federal) need to  educate
their citizens about  the risks and  benefits of municipal solid waste combustion,  in
addition to the other issues  mentioned previously  in  this report.   Local governments
need to Involve citizens in the decision-making process.   Citizens  want to know about
the  risks  that  they may  be  assuming  in  siting  a  facility in  their  neighborhood.
Information on risks,   as  well  as  other  relevant  issues will be included  in  EPA's
update of the Declsionmakers Guide.

Operator Certification

     Operator training  and certification  programs  can help  ensure safe and  effective
operation of the  combustor  and pollution control  equipment.  Issues that need to  be
resolved concerning training and  certification include:   which  level  of government
should  establish  training  and  certification  requirements,  which specific combustor
plant  personnel  should  be trained  and/or certified,  how  frequently certification
should be renewed, and others.

     Some states have already  initiated  training  and certification  programs.   EPA has
maintained close  contact  both with these states  and with  the  American Society  of
Mechanical Engineers  (ASME)  during ASME's  ongoing efforts  to  develop  a  model
combustor training and certification  program.   Although states  and/or local govern-
ments are best suited  to actually administer such  programs,   EPA will  be considering
the  value of establishing  model  operator  training  and  certification  standards  or
guidance during the  development  of the regulatory program for  new  and  existing

Banning Particular Wastes from Combustors

     Existing   data  indicate   that   certain   waste  materials   contribute   relatively
significant amounts of hazardous  constituents to  emissions  and  ash  (especially toxic
organlcs  and  heavy metals).   However, data  are currently inadequate  to determine
                                       - 62 -

 precisely  the effect on  air emissions and  ash of eliminating specific materials  from
 the waste stream prior to combustion. EPA has commissioned a study to identify major
 sources of lead and cadmium which are disposed of in the municipal solid waste stream.
 As a follow up  to this study,  EPA  will do a preliminary screen to see  if there are
 potential  substitutes   for  significant  sources  of lead  or  cadmium.    If  suitable
 substitutes  may  be available  for  lead  or cadmium in  any products,  a  regulatory
 evaluation  will  be initiated for those  products  to  determine if restrictions on,  or
 substitution for lead or cadmium is appropriate.

     Despite the  current paucity of data, individual governments  at the  state and
 local  level  may  wish  to consider  banning specific  waste  materials from existing  or
 planned  combustors for various reasons.   For example, a  municipality struggling  to
 initiate an effective yard waste composting program may find that banning yard wastes
 from combustion may increase composting rates. Such yard waste bans may also improve
 combustion of the rest of the waste stream  by  reducing moisture content and ensuring
 more consistent Btu values through the seasons.  Local governments considering bans of
 certain wastes from combustors should  ensure that  sufficient capacity is  available  to
 properly handle the banned waste, and that the management option for the banned waste
 does not pose a greater risk to human health and the environment.

 Municipal Waste Combustor Permits

     Some states and communities have a policy of issuing cornbustor permits only when
the cornbustor was planned  as part of  an   overall evaluation  of integrated waste
management, including recycling. Thus,  waste managers  and planners would have to at
least consider the practicality of establishing a  recycling  and/or composting  program.
Such  practices can help to prevent reliance on  "single solutions" and promote the
concepts and practices of integrated  waste  management.  Other  communities should
consider  such action  in order to leverage consideration  of recycling programs  and
ensure proper planning.
                                      - 63  -

                                TABLE 5.


Upgrade Combustor Performance Standards and Ash Management

    Proposed air emission standards  	NOVEMBER  1989

    Final air emission standards	DECEMBER  1990

Operator Certification

    Resolve Issues   	JUNE       1989

    Decide whether to develop a model
      operator certification program    	NOVEMBER  1989

Bans on Materials from Incinerators (See also Table 3, Minimizing
Toxic Constituents and Materials in Waste)

    Provide information on problem wastes (see also Table 6,
    Bans on Materials from Landfills)   	DECEMBER  1989
                                  - 64 -


      Municipal  solid  waste  landfills  are  used to  dispose of  the  majority of  our
 nation's  municipal solid  waste, and will continue  to  be  essential in  the  future.
 Although increased source reduction  and  recycling  will reduce the volumes of waste
 going to landfills, and may make some waste more benign, we must increase the safety
 of landfills  to ensure protection of human  health  and the environment, as well as
 public support when new  ones must be sited.  Operator certification,  minimum design
 and operation standards, education and  technical assistance,  and studies  on potential
 bans of some wastes from landfills all contribute to  reaching the goal  of increased
 safety and reduced volumes of waste needing landfilling.

 Operator Certification

     Properly designed and operated landfills require knowledgeable operators in order
 to ensure efficient and safe compaction  of waste without damage  to liners, leachate
                            collection systems, or  other  design features.   In  addi-
                            tion,  the  monitoring  required  at  municipal   landfills
                            requires  an   experienced  operator.     Certification   of
                            operators can  help ensure that experienced operators  run
                            the facilities and equipment.   Increasing the safety and
                            effective  use  of  landfills  through  certification  can help
                            prevent problems endangering human  health and  the
environment,  can  increase  public  confidence,   and  can  extend  precious  landfill

     Any  certification  of landfill operators should occur through  state programs or
through programs developed  by trade and  industry associations.   EPA is  planning to
provide guidance  on  certification to  states that  want  to  develop  and  implement a
Municipal solid waste
landfills are used to
dispose of the majority
of our nation's municipal
solid waste, and will
continue to be essential
in the future.
                                      - 65 -

certification  program.   These programs could  work similarly to the  programs  for
combustor operator certification.

Increase Design and Operation Standards and Guidance

     Minimum  standards  for  the design  and operation  of  landfills are  critical  for
ensuring protection of human  health and the environment over both the short and long
term.  Properly  designed and  operated landfills should provide safe  disposal of waste,
but do not efficiently reduce the bulk or toxicity of the  waste.  Thus,  waste  disposed
in landfills degrades very slowly and safe design and operation throughout the life of
the landfill Is crucial.

     Minimum standards for design  and operation of landfills  exist at both the Federal
and state level.  Revised minimum standards for design, operation,  and location of
landfills,  including  monitoring,   closure  and  corrective action  requirements were
proposed by  EPA on August 30, 1988, in response to requirements under the Hazardous
and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984.  When final,  these standards will help to prevent
future problems with  releases of toxic  constituents to  ground  and surface  waters.
Remedial action for existing  and/or closed landfills that are  posing  potential  threats
to human health and the environment is also important.  States must- adopt and enforce
these standards for existing  landfills in order to ensure safe and effective operation
of  landfills.   Many states have   already developed  stringent  standards for operation
and design of landfills.

     EPA has also been developing air emission standards for new and existing land-
fills under the  Clean Air  Act  to  control emissions of volatile organic compounds  that
create an odor nuisance  as well  as  a potential hazard to  human health and  the
                                       - 66 -

  Education and Technical Assistance

      Education and technical assistance by all levels of government and industry  can
  decrease the risks  posed by landfllling, upgrade  design  and operation,  and increase
  public confidence in the management practice.

      There  is ongoing  debate  about the  landfill characteristics  which  are  best  for
  managing municipal solid waste.   This debate is concerned  with  whether a landfill
 should be  "dry"  (to prevent any  leaching of  hazardous constituents) or  "wet"  (to
 promote  degradation at  a higher rate).   EPA will sponsor a technical conference of
 experts and engineers  to further discuss this question,  and any research  necessary in
 the area.

      As  mentioned  earlier  in  the  section on combustion,  education  about  risks,
 benefits,  and  other relevant information should be  available  to  everyone.   The
 decisionmakers  guide  which  was  mentioned  earlier will  include  a  discussion  on

      Finally, guidance  on implementing  EPA's final  revised  landfill  criteria will  be
 necessary for municipal waste landfill  owners and operators.  EPA will develop this
 guidance to aid in proper implementation.

 Bans on  Certain Wastes from Landfills

     It may  be  desirable  to restrict or ban certain wastes from  landfills  in order  to
 increase the  safety and effective management of  the landfill and leachate  collection
 system. Some wastes may be "bad actors" by contributing hazardous constituents  to
 landfill leachate,  producing  explosive levels of  methane  gas or producing toxic  air

     What wastes, if any,  should be  banned from landfills should be considered by the
Federal government, states and municipalities.  EPA will  provide information  on which
                                      - 67  -

constituents should  be considered by  states and localities for bans.   Constituents
such as oil, household hazardous  waste, car batteries,  tires, and  yard  waste will be
considered by EPA.  For any proposed bans, the management practice that would take the
place of  landfilling  should be  evaluated to  ensure that this  alternate  management
practice  has  sufficient  current or  future  capacity  and  poses  fewer  risks/than
landfilling.  For example,  states and  municipalities should  ensure that composting
facilities have adequate capacity to handle  a  large  influx  of  yard waste which may
have been banned from the landfill, or that new composting facilities will be built.

Landfill Permits

     Some states and communities have a policy of  issuing landfill permits only when
the  landfill  was  planned as  part  of  an  overall evaluation of  integrated  waste
management, Including recycling. Thus, waste managers and planners would have to at
least consider the practicality of establishing a recycling and/or composting program.
Such practices  can help  to prevent  reliance on  "single solutions" and promote-the
concepts  and practices of integrated waste management.  Other  communities should
consider  such action in  order to leverage  consideration  of recycling  programs and
ensure proper planning.
                                       - 68 -

                                  TABLE 6


Operator certification

     Training materials for operators    	SEPTEMBER  1989

     State certification guidance	 .   DECEMBER  1990

Design and operation standards

     Propose revised minimum criteria for landfills       	AUGUST     1988

     Issue final criteria      	DECEMBER  1989

     Air emission standards proposed	 .  .  .  . .  . .   MAY        1990

     Final air emission standards	    AUGUST     1991

Education and Technical Assistance

     Technical guidance for the revised landfill criteria        ....   JANUARY    1990

Bans on Materials from Landfilling (see also Table 3, Minimizing
Toxic Constituents and Materials in Waste)

     Provide information on problem wastes	   DECEMBER  1989
     (see also Table 5, Ban on Materials from combustors)
                                   - 69 -


     Our nation has choices as to how  we are going to deal  with  our ever-growing
garbage problem. We can continue to create more and more garbage, or we ,can cut back.
We can continue to bury most of our waste,  or we can find feasible ways  to recycle
more of it.  We can design products and packaging without considering  disposal or we
can design for source reduction and recycling.  We can wait for local crises to  occur
or we can plan now to avoid them. In short, we can ignore the issue and hope it goes
away, which it will  not, or we  can act now to deal with it.   But whether we like it or
not, our garbage is no longer "out of sight and out of mind."

     The  Agenda for Action establishes a  "game plan" for addressing our  garbage
problem which  underscores  the  need for an  effective integrated waste management
approach,  including source  reduction,  recycling,  combustion,  and  landfilling.   It is
not  a panacea,  but  the Agency believes  that its implementation will  go a long way in
safely  eliminating  the gap  between the  generation of  garbage  and our capacity to
handle  il, as well as provide for waste management that protects  both human  health  and
the environment.
                                       - 70  -
   * U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:! 992-626-379/60691