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Municipal Solid Waste Materials and Management.

This study analyzes the outlook for U.S. municipal solid waste generation and management and concludes that, despite expanding waste reduction efforts, municipal solid waste generation will increase 2.4%/year to reach 227 million tons in 1997. According to the author, "increasing consumption of goods, and thus generation of solid waste, will reflect population growth of 1% annually and moderate gains in real gross domestic product and per capita disposable personal income." The author also anticipates that the total cost of municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal will increase 7%/yr to $46.5 billion. This will result from regulatory constraints and public opposition to waste management facilities.

The MSW stream will continue to consist mostly of paper and paperboard materials--generation of these will increase 2.6% annually to 1997. Plastics waste generation will experience the fastest growth--more than 4%/yr--because of plastics' penetration of packaging markets. Glass waste generation will remain flat because of declining use of glass by weight in packaging applications. Metals entering the MSW stream will increase 1.2% annually, and yard waste will increase more than 2%/yr. Other waste materials (rubber, textiles, etc.) will expand nearly 3% annually.

The amount of MSW landfilled in the U.S. through 1997 will decline slightly (from more than 68% of total MSW in 1992 to 60% in 1997) as other waste management practices such as recycling, composting, and incineration become more prominent. The rapid drop in established landfill capacity, combined with limitations on capacity additions stemming from public opposition and more stringent government regulations, will further restrain the amount of MSW landfilled.

Recycling, or materials recovery, is the most desirable form of waste management from the viewpoint of the EPA, numerous politicians, and environmental groups, among others. The author believes that MSW materials recycling will expand nearly 7% annually to 43.6 million tons in 1997 (up from over 31 million in 1992). Such growth stems from demand for products made from recyclable materials, new products and applications development, an expanding recycling infrastructure, and legislation mandating the use of recycled materials.
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Publication:Plastics Engineering
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1993
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