Celebrating Advancements in Solid Waste Management Timeline

The Missouri Solid Waste Management Law was passed in 1972. The law required local governments to plan and implement sound solid waste management practices. This also gave local governments the authority to enact ordinances, collect fees or taxes and enter into contracts necessary for carrying out these responsibilities. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources was created under state reorganization July 1, 1974. By giving the department the authority to establish criteria for land disposal, this law essentially outlawed open dumping of waste. The result was a vast improvement in solid waste management across the state of Missouri.

Senate Bill 387, the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law, became effective Aug. 28, 1972.

In the 40 plus years since the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law was implemented, thousands of unhealthy and unsightly open dumps have been closed.

illegal dump on side of hill
dump closed sign

Solid waste is now hauled to modern sanitary landfills for disposal or to transfer stations and material recovery facilities for processing.

dump truck at landfill
grader at landfill
modern landfill


Over 450 local disposal sites that routinely burned waste have been closed, and replaced by a small number of engineered sanitary landfills where burning is not allowed.



Improvements have been made since disposal sites once polluted ground and surface waters. Modern day facilities implement the use of liners, monitoring and proper long-term care to protect our water resources.

landfill liner
bundles of paper to be recycled



The Missouri Policy on Resource Recovery, instituted in 1989, encouraged citizens and businesses to reduce the amount of solid waste created; reuse, recycle or compost solid waste; and utilize solid waste to produce energy.


Senate Bill 530, passed in 1990, focused efforts towards the goal of diverting 40 percent of the waste stream from landfill disposal and created a 50-cent fee on purchases of new tires sold at retail stores. This fee funds scrap tire cleanups and the reuse of these tires for projects such as playground surfacing materials.

field of abandoned tires
playground from scrap tires



Looking forward, the department’s Solid Waste Management Program (SWMP) will continue to work with Missourians on solutions to better manage wastes and return material resources to constructive uses.


methane gas valves





SWMP works with landfill owners/operators to transform landfill gas into valuable energy.




methane gas converter
sorting recycling materials


SWMP provides funding to the 20 Solid Waste Management Districts, which issue grants to applicants for reducing, reusing and recycling waste materials, thus saving limited natural resources, conserving landfill space and minimizing our impact on the environment.

Since the mid-1950s, Missouri has made a transition from unhealthy open dumps to today’s engineered, permitted and regulated landfill sites. Integrated solid waste management planning, which recognizes that some "wastes" are actually resources, is now widely practiced throughout the state.

Laws and Regulations

Missouri Solid Waste Management Law Section 260.200 through 260.345 only

Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMo), including the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law, are available from the Revisor of Statutes, 573-526-1288, or online through the Missouri General Assembly website.

Statewide perspective of sanitary landfills (Latest biennial estimates from 2015)

  • Total of 20 active sanitary landfills across the state
  • Total permitted airspace is 346,083,960 cubic yards
  • Total remaining disposal airspace is 219,090,975 cubic yards
  • Total remaining life in years – 627.48 years
  • Most life left – IESI MO Champ Sanitary Landfill – 91.86 years
  • Second most life left – Advance Disposal (Veolia ES) Maple Hill – 72.30 years
  • Third most life left – IESI Timber Ridge – 70.90 years

Permitted Facilities

Waste Generation, Disposal and Diversion Rates for Missouri (latest 2015 figures)

  • Each Missourian generates approximately 2.58 tons of waste each year = 15,719,122 tons of waste
  • Missouri solid waste exported to other states = 2,014,158 tons
  • Missouri solid waste imported from other states = 156,414 tons
  • Missouri solid waste reduced, reused, recycled and composted = 9,494,038 tons
  • Total percentage of waste diverted from landfills = 60 percent
  • Total solid waste disposed of in to Missouri landfills = 4,367,340 tons

Missouri Waste Diversion Status Reports

Tonnage Reports

Solid Waste Management District Grants

The department provides grant funding from solid waste tonnage fee collections to Missouri's 20 solid waste management districts to fund their operations and community-based waste reduction, reuse, composting and recycling projects. Local governments, small and large businesses, schools, sheltered workshops and individuals seek and may be awarded grants by their regional solid waste management district to support activities to remove materials from the waste stream and return them for beneficial reuse.

Financial Assistance and Information

Solid Waste Advisory Board

Solid Waste Management Districts