65 Million Years ago-
- Dinosaurs die and become gas and oil today
- Garbage becomes an issue as people first begin to establish permanent settlements
- Egyptians use the first glass, in the form of beads.
- Religious, and social conventions play a role. Jewish code of sanitary laws obligate individuals to be be responsible for removal of their wastes
- The first jars and bottles are made out of glass.
- Athens, Greece, organizes the first municipal landfill in the Western world and requires waste disposal at least one mile from city walls. Virtually anything considered unwanted waste is left in the dump.
- China- the Chang Dynasty chargess workers with recycling bronze into weapons and chariot accessories
- Paper is invented in China by Ts’ai Lun.
- The first sanitation force is created by the Romans. Teams of two men walk along the streets, pick up garbage, and throw it into a wagon.
- Parisians cast garbage out their windows. Although several attempts are made at effective collection and disposal, eventually the waste grows so high beyond the city gate that it becomes an impediment to Paris’ defense. In general, people slowly become aware of waste as a health hazard. Public resistance to new regulations is strong, however, and primitive collection and disposal methods dominate.
About A.D. 1000
- People in Turkey recycle marble building facings into cemetery headstones.
- The Japanese use wastepaper to make new paper — the first recorded occurrence of paper recycling. The Chinese probably employed the process earlier.
- Paris prohibits swine (pigs) from running loose in the streets.
- The first European paper probably is manufactured in Spain. Recycled rags are used as virtually the only source of paper fiber for the next 700 years in the West.
- The Black Death epidemic reaches Europe from Asia, caused in part by garbage tossed into unpaved streets and vacant spaces which attracted rats. Fleas that traveled on the backs of infected rats quickly spread the disease to humans. Millions of people died.
- Reacting to waste disposal methods that involve simply throwing garbage out of windows and doors, the English Parliament bans waste disposal in public waterways and ditches.
- Laws are developed requiring that garbage be taken outside of the city gates, but 12 years later in Paris, garbage has piled up so high outside the gate that it actually interferes with the defense of the city.
- People generally throw away garbage in random, unorganized ways. Cities pass laws against the most unsanitary practices, but it does little good.
- The waste from Paris is piled so high outside the city gates that it interferes with the city’s defenses.
- A new regulation in Paris requires anyone who brings a cart of sand, earth, or gravel into the city to leave with a load of mud or refuse.
- The first recorded use of packaging: German papermaker Andreas Bernhart begins placing his paper in wrappers labeled with his name and address.
- Glass was part of the first cargo ever shipped from the American shores, and a glass factory was established in Jamestown, Virginia. Not only was it America’s first factory, but glass was America’s first industry–created a dozen years before the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620.
- Scrap use comes to North America as the first iron furnace is built in Saugus, MA.
- Jenks Iron Works in Lynn receives permission to buy the Massachusetts colony’s guns and melt them down.
- Residents of New Amsterdam (New York) are among the first to pass laws prohibiting the throwing of trash into the streets, but street conditions remain the homeowners’ responsibility.
- The Rittenhouse family establishes America’s first paper mill on the banks of Wissahickon Creek near Philadelphia. It makes paper from recycled cotton and linen as well as used paper.
- The Industrial Revolution begins in England. It represents a landmark increase in the amount of waste generated. Waste collection first emerges as a city service, although collection occurs largely by scavenging. In the United States, cities are smaller and space and natural resources are more plentiful. But Americans have the same habit as the English of throwing garbage into the streets. The streets reek of waste. By the mid-19th century, several cities pass ordinances against indiscriminate dumping of refuse and the free roaming of animals, but those measures aren’t enough to curb the waste problem. Waste collection and disposal methods remain primitive.
- American colonists declare their independence from England and they turn to recycling for materials to support the Revolutionary War effort.
- Ragpickers, men with horse-drawn carts, make trips into rural areas to barter for worn-out farm implements and other items, including rags and bones, that have resale value.
- Benjamin Franklin starts the first street cleaning program in North America in Philadelphia.
- The first metal recycling occurs in America when patriots in New York City melt down a statue of King George III and make it into 42,088 bullets.
- The first cardboard box made in America is manufactured in Philadelphia by Frederick Newman.
- Benjamin Franklin uses slaves to carry Philadelphia’s waste downstream.
- Matthias Koops obtains a patent in England for a paper de-inking process. The following year, Koops builds the first commercial mill in the West to use materials other than cotton and linen rags to make paper.
- The tin can is patented in London by Peter Durand.
- Charleston, WV, enacts a law protecting garbage-eating vultures from hunters.
- Peddlers in America, primarily immigrants, begin collecting and recycling anything with resale value.
- Pioneers heading west abandon personal belongings along the way and junk dealers scavenge the materials along the trails.
- The Mason jar is invented, allowing fruits and vegetables to be preserved.
- More than 500 paper mills are operating in the U.S., using cloth rags as their primary source of fiber.
- Private scavenging companies and municipal crews begin working together to clean up New York. They remove 15,000 horse carcasses from the city streets (city horses have rough lives pulling street cars; their average life expectancy is only two years!)
- During the Civil War, both the North and South urge citizens to donate all old metal objects. In the South, this need is critical due to the North’s control of iron making.
- Newspapers begin to describe the availability and price of scrap.
- An estimated 10,000 hogs roam the streets of New York City, gorging on garbage.
- New York City’s Metropolitan Board of Health declares war on trash, forbidding the throwing of dead animals, garbage or ashes into the streets.
- Chemist John Hyatt saves thousands of elephants, which were killed for their ivory tusks, by inventing celluloid for billiard balls. The balls sometimes spark on collision and even explode, requiring a search for improvements that lead to the invention of plastics, an industry that Hyatt can be said to have founded.
- The industrial city emerges in America, characterized by mounds of putrefying garbage. It lands in the streets and waterways. People dump garbage, slag, ashes and scrap metal on vacant land. Industries dump animal waste in open pits or empty lots. The proliferation of horses leads to an excess of manure and carcasses. By the 1890’s the U.S. recognizes “the garbage problem.” It is considered a health issue, not just a nuisance. Cities debate contracting with private companies or establishing a municipal service.
- Concerns about unhealthy sanitary conditions in England prompt a new invention in Nottingham—”The Destructor” provides the first systematic incineration of municipal solid waste (MSW). Curbside recycling begins for the first time in the United States in Baltimore.
- A revolution in the steel making industry takes place as the open hearth furnace gradually replaces the Bessemer process. The advent of the open hearth and later the electric furnace results in a dramatic rise in demand for scrap.
- The first garbage incinerator in the U.S. is built on Governor’s Island, New York. By 1914, 300 incinerators are located in the U.S. and Canada.
- The American Public Health Association appoints a Committee on Garbage Disposal, to determine the extent of the refuse problem in the U.S. The committee spends ten years on its assignment.
- Garbage often is dumped near “least desirable” neighborhoods. Protests from residents there are largely ignored.
- A survey shows selected American cities generate 860 pounds of garbage per capita, compared with 450 pounds for English cities and 319 for German cities.
- The Boston Health Department proclaims burning waste to be the “best and safest” means of disposal. But because of the high cost of commercial incinerators, the department recommends burning waste in home kitchens.
- Sanitary engineers become more prominent in addressing waste management, applying a more organized, scientific approach. Civic organizations increasingly try to raise public consciousness about the refuse problem.
- Sierra Club is founded by John Muir. It is the first environmental organization
- Col. George E. Waring Jr. is appointed New York City street cleaning commissioner of New York City. He develops the first practical, comprehensive system of refuse management in the U.S. Among his other reforms and innovations, he is the first to attempt to separate refuse on a large scale, to allow the city to recover and resell some of the materials and allow street crews to handle them more easily. His plan requires everyone to keep organic waste, rubbish and ashes in separate containers and begins the city’s first municipal recycling program. In 1898 he takes over from “scow trimmers,” who rummage through dumping scows (headed for the ocean) for materials with resale value, and establishes the first rubbish-sorting plant in the U.S. The city’s recycling operation was closed in 1925 due to complaints about odors, and ocean dumping gradually resumed until it was outlawed again in the 1980’s.
- King C. Gillette, a traveling salesman, tires of sharpening his razor and creates the disposable razor blade.
- The Vienna or Merz system of extracting oils and other by-products through the compression of city garbage is introduced in Buffalo, NY. The reduction process gives cities a disposal method that provides recoverable and resalable materials from waste.
- Recyclers and reuse programs adopt the phrase ‘Waste As Wealth” to describe the profits to be made from sorting and reselling items found in household trash
- Municipal solid waste collection, i.e. curbside pickup, becomes the norm in cities— 79% of the U.S. cities surveyed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology provide it. Trash is taken to the “town dump.”
- Corrugated paperboard containers find use commercially.
- The nation’s first major aluminum recycling plants open in Chicago and Cleveland.
- The U.S. allows permit mail, which opens the door for direct mail advertising.
- The World’s Fair in St. Louis, a gold medal is awarded for the first successful scrap handling magnet. Within two years, magnets are used throughout the scrap industry.
- The publication Engineering News notes that experiments involving the plowing of waste into the land in and around St. Louis might offer opportunities for the systematic burying of garbage.
- Williamsburg Lighting Plant is constructed on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and incorporates waste recycling and incineration.
- The first paper towels are developed.
- An article in Cosmopoliton magazine, “The Chemical House That Jack Built,” extols the manner in which “even/ possible substance we use and throw away comes back as new and different material – a wonderful cycle of transfomation created by scientists’ skill.
- Paper cups replace tin around the U.S. in vending machines, in public buildings and on trains. America also becomes the leading producer of paper and paper products (about 640,000 tons) and the leading consumer (38.6 pounds per capita). To meet increasing demand and the fear of deforestation, the U.S. steps up imports of rags and wastepaper. By 1916 the U.S. produces 15,000 tons of paper per day, using about 5,000 tons of old paper.
- Manufacturers develop means to remove printer’s ink from old newspapers through a defibering process, while other processes turn old paper into cardboard and pasteboard.
- Kraft paper pulp is first made in the U.S.
- A gas cutting torch is first used in a scrap yard in Lebanon, PA.
- Cellophane (clear plastic) is invented by Swiss chemist Dr. Jacques Brandenberger, which encourages the use of plastic packaging.
- Source reduction of waste is on the wane because people consider it too costly and it affects too little of the waste stream. Incineration also struggles in the U.S. because of problems adapting the English model.
- Cities begin switching from horse-drawn to motorized refuse collection equipment.
- The Chicago cityjail initiates a unique recycling experiment as it puts prisoners to work collecting and sorting waste materials.
- Dr. Thomas Jasperson obtains a U.S. Patent for the production of paper from de-inking recovered fiber around the same time.
- Due to shortages of raw materials during World War I, the federal government creates the Waste Reclamation Service with the motto “Don’t Waste Waste – Save It.” The agency advertises extensively to encourage the public to save old rags and wastepaper. The service also advocates scientifjc management of the nation‘s water, timber, land, and minerals –early steps in the evolution of progressive programs to protect resources for future generations.
- Used Paper becomes a valuable commodity first time in America, thousands of tons of old books, newspapers, and business papers are recycled by paper mills.
- Ms. Otheman Stevens initiates an ambitious tin foil collection program in 10s Angeles and becomes the sole representative of the Red Cross Salvage Bureau.U
- Experimentation takes place with turning waste into energy, such as steam, electricity, liquid or solid fuels, alcohol or fuel bricks. The methods have little impact because existing energy sources are cheap. Also, in response to wartime shortages, the U.S. Government establishes the Waste Reclamation Service, which stresses the value of waste.
- Population growth begins spreading out; society becomes more consumer and service-oriented, and generates significantly more waste. The U.S. Government becomes more deeply involved in the affairs of the city. Filling in wetlands with garbage, ash and dirt becomes popular.
- The Red Heel Sock Company begins bundling knitted monkey patterns with it’s product, encourages consumers to convert their retired footgear into sock monkeys.
- Paper recycling began in Britain in 1921, when the British Waste Paper Association was established to encourage trade in waste paper recycling.
- Farm use (fertilizers, animal feed) is the most popular form of waste disposal at 38 percent in a survey of U.S. cities, followed by incineration at 29 percent and dumping at 17 percent.
- Municipal collection of waste rises to 63 percent of cities in the U.S. Census, compared with 24 percent in 1880.
- Kleenex facial tissue is introduced.
- The Municipal Garbage Department of Sacramento, Califomia, increases its annual revenue by selling the city‘s wastepaper to an independent paper company. The new revenue allows the department to increase the collectors’ wages by 25 cents a day
- Enclosed collection vehicles begin replacing horse-drawn waste carts.
- Dumping of municipal waste at sea becomes illegal. Industrial and some commercial wastes are immune from the law.
- The first beer can is produced by Krueger’s Cream Ale in Richmond, VA. Over the next six months, company sales increased 550% because customers loved the convenience.
- The first sanitary landfill is built in Fresno, CA. Closed in 1987, the landfill is now on the Superfund list of the nation’s most polluted sites.
- Wartime shortages increase the demand for reusing tin, rubber, aluminum, paper, fats and other materials to help the war effort. The War Production Boards Salvage Division is responsible for promotion nationwide recycling. More than 20,000 salvage committees, 400,000 volunteers and millions of citizens pledge to ‘Get in the Scrap’ to help the war effort. Citizens contribute everything from doorknobs to girdles. It is said that salvaging metal straps from corsets alone saved enough metal to build two warships.
- The aerosol can is invented by two researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Dow Chemical Company invents Styrofoam.
- Sanitary landfills become a preferred disposal alternative to open dumping.
- The popularity of electric arc furnaces for steel production increases. These furnaces produce fewer emissions and much less pollution.
- Fresh Kills landfill is opened in Staten Island, NY. It later becomes the world’s largest city dump. Fresh Kills and the Great Wall of China are the only man-made objects visible with the naked eye from space.
- Market acceptance of frozen orange concentrate leads to the expansion of the frozen foods industry, with associated increases in packaging
- In-house garbage disposal units become popular. In some cities, it’s estimated that 25-30 percent of all garbage is ground up.
- The anti-litter association Keep America Beautiful forms.
- Swanson’s introduces the first successful TV dinner. Convenience food of all kinds increase rapidly in popularity during the 1950s.
- The August 1 issue of Life magazine offers a two-page article on “Throwaway Living.“ With a photo of a family cheerfully tossing dozens of disposables into the air, it celebrated these products’ ability to “cut down on household chores.” Consumers are increasingly sold on the idea that single-use items are necessities of a modern lifestyle. Ease and convenience become the two most desirable qualities in product marketing. A negative side-effect: parks, forests. and highways are littered with trash.
- The group that eventually becomes the National Solid Waste Association forms.
- The American Society of Civil Engineers publishes a standard guide to sanitary landfilling. It suggests compacting the refuse and covering it with a daily layer of soil to fight odors and rodents.
- Plastic begins getting extensive use as packaging. Pop tops or pull tabs on beverage cans become popular.
- Municipal collection and disposal increases over private collection in the late 1930s, but begins to lose ground in the 1960s. Private firms become more attractive to replace city services, offering cost savings and improved service. Regional agencies begin to emerge to meet increasingly complex problems.
- Interest in waste-to-energy as a diversion alternative develops in the U.S.
- A city ordinance in Los Angeles eliminates the sorting of recyclables after Sam Yorty successfully runs for mayor with that as his campaign promise.
- The Governmental Refuse Collection and Disposal Association forms. In 1991, the group changes its name to the Solid Waste Association of North America.
- Proctor & Gamble begins test-marketing the disposable diaper.
- Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring is published. It carefully outlines the deadly result of using the pesticide DDT and becomes the bible for the environmental movement.
- Aluminum cans for beverages are introduced.
- The Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA), the nation’s first federal solid waste management law—authorizes research and provides for state grants. It states that while state, regional, and local authorities primarily should be responsible for waste management, the federal government will provide financial and technical assistance. But the act has no regulatory authority.
- Madison, Wisconsin, starts the first newspaper recycling bin movement begins
- President Johnson commissions the first comprehensive survey of solid waste since cities began keeping garbage records in the early 1900’s. Cities collect and dispose of 140 million tons of solid waste.
- The U.S. aluminum industry begins recycling discarded aluminum products, from beverage cans to window blinds.
- Rubber reclaiming drops to 8.8 percent from 19 percent in 1958.
- Seattle institutes a new fee structure for garbage pickup, which incorporates a base rate and an additional fee for garbage above a certain amount.
- American Refuse Systems Inc. merges with equipment distributor Browning-Ferris Machinery Co. to form Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc.
- The enactment of the Clean Air Act leads to the closing of many incinerators.
- The first Earth Day focuses attention on environmental concerns. Recycling’s chasing arrows logo is introduced on that day.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is created.
- Congress passes the Resource Recovery Act. It shifts the emphasis of federal involvement from disposal to recycling, resource recovery, and waste-to-energy.
- There are an estimated 15,000 authorized land disposal sites, but as many as 10 times that number of unauthorized dumps. A study in the mid-1970s states that 94 percent of the landfills surveyed did not meet the minimum requirement for a sanitary landfill.
- Resource recovery becomes increasingly popular in some circles, but others say it’s not viable because it’s not economically profitable. Compactor trucks comprise a majority of all collection vehicles.
- The EPA Office of Solid Waste gets the authority to study solid waste, award grants and publish guidelines.
- Oregon passed the nation’s first bottle bill as an anti-litter law. The law resulted in a dramatic reduction in beverage container litter and gained widespread public support. Four years after implementation, the bottle bill had a public approval rating of 90 percent.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is created. It is charged with the mission “to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment.”
- Waste Management, Inc. is formed.
- The first buy-back centers for recyclables are opened in Washington State. They accept beer bottles, aluminum cans, and newspapers.
- A bottle made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is patented by chemist Nathaniel Wyeth (brother of Andrew Wyeth, the American painter).
- The paper recycling rate drops to 17.6 percent from 35 percent in 1944.
- The city of Berkeley, California began one of the first curbside collection programs with monthly pick ups of newspapers from residences.
- The number of incinerator plants drops to 160, from 265 in 1966 and 600-700 in 1938.
- The first city-wide use of curbside recycling bins occurs in University City, MO, for collecting newspapers.
- Direct Mail advertising begins o take off, with more than $5B spent to promote credit cards, magazines. Within 20 years the industry will grow to more than $100 Billion /year iwth more tahnt 709Billion pieces of mail delivered annylly.
- The EPA proposes a drastic cutback in the federal solid waste program so the government can focus on hazardous waste, but the agency backs off after several public sector groups protest.1975 The number of private garbage hauling companies increases. The percent of waste collected by private companies as opposed to municipalities is reported to be 66%.
- Congress passes the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which requires all dumps to be replaced with “sanitary landfills.” The enforcement of this act will increase the cost of landfill disposal and make resource-conserving options like recycling more appealing. It stands today as the primary piece of federal solid waste legislation and essentially replaced and built upon the Resource Recovery Act.
- The Toxic Substances Control Act is passed, which helps prevent the dumping of hazardous chemicals in landfills.
- Three people from Bartlesville, OK, get a patent on a method for purifying and reusing lubricating oils.
- PET soda bottles begin replacing glass.
- The passage of the Clean Water Act of 1977 in the USA created strong demand for bleached paper (office paper whose fibre has already been bleached white increased in value as water effluent became more expensive).
- The U.S. Supreme Court rules that garbage is protected by the Interstate Commerce Clause, so states can’t ban shipment of waste from one state to the other.
Also in 1978,
- 200 families are relocated from Love Canal (they did not begin returning until 1989) after it was determined that Hooker Chemical and Plaster Corp. had put 21,000 tons of chemical waste there 25 years earlier. They covered it up and then sold the property to the Niagara Falls Board of Education, which placed a school and playground on the site. Lawsuits for damages continued into the mid-1990’s. The Love Canal incident is cited as a prime cause in the creation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Reliability Act, also known as Superfund, in 1980.
- The EPA issues landfill regulations that prohibit open dumping.
- ”Choices for Conservation,” a report of the Federal Resource Conservation Committee, warns: “We have no cause for complacency about the rate at which we consume our natural endowment. Our materials-use practices affect environmental policy, energy consumption, waste generation, the balance of trade, and other important concems. lndividuals, private companies, local government, and the federal government all make choices every day which affect our use and conservation of resources.“
- Per capita production of waste reaches 8 pounds per day, up from 5 pounds in 1970 and 2.75 pounds in 1920.
- Reauthorization of RCRA and amendments to the Hazardous and Solid Waste Act call for tougher federal regulation of landfills.1985-1999
- First Adopt-A-Highway program started in Texas to address litter along state-maintained roads.
- Rhode Island becomes the first state to pass mandatory recycling laws for aluminum and steel cans, glass, newspaper, and soda bottles (PET) and milk jugs (HDPE) plastic.
- The city of San Francisco meets its goal of recycling 25% of its commercial and residential waste.
- The Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, NY becomes the largest landfill in the world.
- California enacts the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, placing a deposit on aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles. The program pushes the state‘s overall beverage container recycling rate to 80% by the mid 1990s, with more than 10 billion cans and bottles recycled annually. Meanwhile, Rhode Island becomes the first state to pass a mandatory recycling law for aluminum and steel (“tin’? cans, glass, plastic (PET and HDPE) bottles, and newspapers. Residents and businesses must now separate these recyclables from their trash.
- A Long Island garbage barge known as Mobro 4000 leaves a New York port on March 22 with 6,000 tons of garbage bound for a southern landfill. The barge is rejected by the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and New Jersey, as well as Belize and Mexico. After a journey of 173 days, the load, mostly paper, is ultimately incinerated near the Long Island landfill from which it had originally been taken. The trip of the Mobro is followed on television and in newspapers and creates the impression that the U.S. does not have enough places to dump garbage.
- The Institute of Scrap Iron and Steel and the National Association of the Recycling Industries merge to create the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.
- The EPA estimates that more than 70 percent, or at least 14,000 of the landfills operating in 1978 have since closed because they didn’t meet new higher landfill standards.
- In an effort to divert waste from landfills, Assistant EPA Administrator Winston Porter sets a U.S. recycling goal of 25% to be met in the next four years. The goal is met in 1996.
- Medical waste washes up on eastern U.S. beaches. One result is the Medical Waste Tracking Act, a two-year plan to set up procedures to track these hazardous wastes.
- The Plastic Bottle Institute develops a material-identification code system for plastic bottle manufacturers. (This is our current #1-6 system.)
- Government purchasing policies and technological breakthroughs advance paper recycling. California state government allows a price preference for paper with at least 50% recycled and 10% postconsumer content. By the early ’90s, all 50 states adopted legislation or executive orders favoring recycled paper. In 1993 President Cljnton orders federal agencies to buy paper with at least 20% postconsumer content.
- Arizona archaeologist William Rathje recovers corn-on-the-cob intact after 18 years in an Arizona landfill, indicating that just because we put biodegradable trash in a landfill, doesn’t mean it will decompose and become smaller in size. People had thought that as food wastes decomposed in landfills, it would allow us to increase their capacity.
- Laws requiring recycling to be an integral part of waste management have been enacted by 26 states.
- City of Berkeley, California, banned the use of polystyrene packaging for keeping McDonald’s hamburgers warm
- Nationwide, 140 recycling laws have been enacted.
- McDonald’s announces plans to stop the use of polystyrene packaging of its food due to consumer protests.
- Earth Day celebrates it’s 20 Anniversary. New Emphasis is placed on ‘Closing the Loop’ Buying products made from recycled materials.
- Consolidators like Recycling Industries Inc., Philip Services Corp. and Metal Management Inc. emerge in the scrap business, changing the face of a family-run industry.
- The National Football League teams up with the California Department of Conservation, the city of Pasadena, and the Rose Bowl to implement the first comprehensive recycling program at Super Bowl XXVII. Califomia observes its first Recycle Week in mid-April. Meanwhile, Califomia Govemor George Deukmejian intro- duces a litter prevention campaign targeting the youthful litterbug. The ad line: ‘Learn to hold it until you get to the can. Don’t litter.”
- Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) establishes minimum standards for landfills, designed to make them safer. These standards include location, facility design and operating criteria, and closure and post closure care requirements, financial assurance, ground water monitoring, and corrective action. Because of the cost of meeting these requirements, 10,000 small municipal landfills are consolidated into an estimated 3,500 new, safer landfills, some of which are “megafills” that can handle up to 10,000 tons of waste a day. The new landfills are outfitted to prevent air and water pollution and limit the spread of disease by scavengers.
- The U.S. Supreme Court holds in its review of C&A Carbone v. Clarkstown, NY, that flow control, the practice whereby municipalities can direct the disposal of waste to designated facilities, is unconstitutional.
- New York City law officials move to break the mob-controlled waste-hauling cartel in the city with indictments of 17 people, four trade associations and 23 companies.
- Americans recycle record 47.5 billion soft drink contans. Evidence grows that recycling helps create jobs.
- An attempt to pass a solid waste flow control bill in the U.S. House of Representatives fails.
- EPA increases America’s recycling goal to 35% by 2005.
- Seven years of consolidation of solid waste companies reaches its peak when the largest in the U.S., Waste Management, merges with the number three company, USA Waste, whose management takes over the new Waste Management.
- The new number three hauler, Allied Waste Industries Inc., agrees to buy the number two company, Browning-Ferris Industries, in a deal worth more than $9 billion.
- There were 1,677 companies in the USA alone involved in the post-consumer plastics recycling business.
- Biocycle and Zero Waste America, a nonprofit organization, estimate that Americans recycled 33 percent of the waste they generated, and that .66 tons of waste were disposed per person.
- Biocycle and Zero Waste America estimate that Americans disposed .98 tons of trash for each citizen and 32 percent of the waste generated was recycled.
- The Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island was reopened to accept the 1.2 million tons of debris from the World Trade Center following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Due to budgetary crisis following 9/11, Mayor Bloomberg suspends recycling of glass and plastic and cuts collection of paper and metals down to alternate weeks for nearly 2 years
- San Francisco becomes the first City to Ban the Bag
- Santa Monica bans non-recycled Fast Food Containers on the beach