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C-FERST Issue Profile: Solid Waste Disposal/Recycling

Proper waste management is an essential part of society’s public and environmental health. Solid waste is any garbage, refuse, sludge, or other discarded material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining, agricultural, or community activities. Nearly everything we do leaves behind some kind of waste. It is important to note that the definition of solid waste is not limited to wastes that are physically solid. Many solid wastes are liquid, semi-solid, or contain gaseous material.

Solid waste that is listed as a hazardous waste could be subject to EPA regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Some non-hazardous waste can be a concern, especially in landfills, and also may be regulated by RCRA. EPA is working to help individuals and communities manage waste by developing tools and guidance on reducing, reusing and recycling waste.

To learn more about solid waste, hazardous waste, and strategies for reducing, reusing and recycling solid waste, see the resources below.