A purview of waste management evolution: Special emphasis on USA

Naushad Kollikkathara, Huan Feng, Eric Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


The generation of waste in urban regions over time is seen to impact the balance of anthropogenic and natural resources. Various national and international initiatives to manage urban solid waste are in place and has thus have evolved at present to form an assortment of different subcomponents involving environmental, administrative, regulatory, scientific, market, technology, and socio-economic factors, which has increasing bearing on the US due to its volume and nature of discards. This paper draws together the various aspects of municipal solid waste (MSW) management as it evolved, particularly in the American society through reviewing works and findings. In many parts of the country, waste management at present, primarily involves landfilling, incineration with and without energy recovery, recycling and composting. Legislation, nature of wastes and market trends continue to redefine management operations and its responsibilities and impacts. Complexities are added to it by the nature of urban development as well. New studies and concepts like 3Rs, cradle-to-cradle, industrial ecology, and integrated waste management are adding new dimensions for solving waste problems towards achieving sustainable resource use. Local initiatives, both public and private are in the forefront of adopting alternate waste management procedures. The assistance from various government and private bodies, supporting shifts in waste management approaches, have immense value, as according to the new paradigms, nothing goes to waste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-985
Number of pages12
JournalWaste Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


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