Trash at a landfill.

The State of Missouri has conducted numerous waste composition studies since 1987, with the most recent having been completed in the fall of 2008. These studies categorized waste going into Missouri's landfills, or received at Missouri's transfer stations; from residential and institutional trash, referred to as municipal solid waste or MSW, to construction and demolition waste, or C&D, to industrial debris, special waste and other waste that cannot be included in any of these classifications. These studies provide the State with comparison data for determining if it's citizens are practicing waste diversion by reducing, reusing, recycling, or composting waste to decrease the amount being disposed in our landfills. Several of the studies (1996-1997 and 2006-2007) conducted waste sorts where trash was physically separated, and the components identified and weighed. The most recent study, completed in 2008, compares to the study conducted in 1998, where waste was visually observed as it was unloaded at selected landfills and transfer stations.

These studies provide valuable information to the Department of Natural Resources. The data collected during both the physical sorting and the visual observations gives us a clear picture of what is being disposed, and most importantly, what items could have been recycled, reused or composted. This information helps the Department provide technical expertise to Missouri's 20 Solid Waste Management Districts, enabling them to work more effectively with their communities to continue improving the waste diversion rate in the State.

For further information regarding the Waste Composition Studies contact the Solid Waste Management Program at 573-751-5401.