Last updated April 17, 2020

2016-2017 Waste Composition Study

Hands on waste sort
Hands-on Waste Sort

Visual Inspection
Visual Inspection

Previous Waste Composition Studies

The state of Missouri has conducted numerous waste composition studies since 1987, with the most recent having been completed in 2017. 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 to construction and demolition waste 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 its 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 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 Missouri 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 (SWMP) at 573-751-5401.

Eco-Friendly Chip Seal and Masonry with Recycled Crumb Rubber

Missouri University of Science and Technology received a grant from the department to test whether or not crumb rubber from scrap tires could be used as a replacement for mineral aggregate in chip seal. During the tests, the crumb rubber chip seal was compared to two different types of conventional chip seals. The tests proved that scrap tires can be used as a partial or full replacement with many positive outcomes. The tire chip seal performed well with increased adhesion to asphalt and showed no negative impact to the environment. Not only could millions of tons of scrap tires be diverted from landfills, but this new chip seal will help reduce noise from high traffic areas and enhance roadway safety. See the full report below.

Missouri Closed Landfill Technical Assistance Project

SWMP has regulatory authority over more than 200 active and closed landfills in the state. The program had a need for funding to evaluate the potential environmental impacts from closed landfills on Missouri’s natural resources. In 2010, the program obtained a Technical Assistance Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Utilities Program to allow for evaluation and outreach assistance to owners of rural landfills throughout Missouri.

History of Solid Waste Disposal Facilities

Initially, trash was tossed into local open dumps with little thought to its impact on the environment as it began to decompose and infiltrate the underlying soil and groundwater as well as moving into surface waters. Since the 1970s, the department has regulated landfills which have evolved from waste buried in soil covered trenches to today’s regionally operated and highly engineered solid waste disposal cells. As concerns over limited natural resources and our impact on the environment increased, so did the regulation and oversight of these landfills. Out of necessity, the small, older sites closed or were required to transition to meet the modern regulatory requirements and industry practices. Most of the smaller sites, which were local landfills, chose to close. However, the waste contained in these sites has not disappeared. Many of the original owners have passed away leaving the landfills to their heirs or the properties have been sold to new owners with little or no knowledge of the landfills or the need to maintain them. In some instances landfills have been abandoned. Circumstances, such as these, highlight the need to ensure landfills are noted on property deeds and to provide education to new landfill owners so they understand their responsibilities in owning and maintaining closed landfill properties.

Missouri Closed Landfill Technical Assistance Project

The Missouri Closed Landfill Technical Assistance Project’s focus is two-fold:  1) assessing the condition of some of Missouri’s older, closed, rural landfills, which operated under less stringent standards than modern landfills, and 2) providing technical assistance and training to counties, municipalities, and individuals throughout the state who own the old disposal areas. This guidance and training addresses landfill maintenance activities, buying and selling of property containing a landfill, and future use of the landfill property to ensure surrounding land and water resources are protected.

SWMP's project began about Oct. 1, 2010. Through file reviews and site assessments, the program examined 58 landfills throughout the state. The site assessments were completed April 29, 2011, and the perliminary results were compiled by June 17, 2011. The program presented findings of the assessments in summer 2011, and preparations of individual evaluation reports and follow-up discussions with the owners are occurring in the fall to address findings. Upon completion of the project (Dec. 31, 2011), SWMP's goal is for current owners of these properties to better understand the closed landfills they own and be prepared to manage the site with minimal, if any, environmental impact to the surrounding community.

Project Deliverables

This material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Rural Utilities Service.

Great Flood of 1993 - Flood Grant

On April 6, 1994, SWMP received a $1.75 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study the effects of the heavy precipitation patterns that occurred during the Great Flood of 1993 on Missouri's landfills. Due to this heavy precipitation event, 101 of Missouri's 114 counties were included in a Federal Disaster Declaration. Landfills throughout the state had to contend with difficult operating conditions and increased leachate production. In addition, some landfills experienced increased methane gas production. Saturated conditions were thought to have increased the potential for leachate and methane migration into the environment.

The study was conducted in phases.
1. Flood Grant-Phase One
2. Flood Grant-Phase Two
3. Flood Grant-Phase Three

For questions or more information regarding the flood grant reports, please contact SWMP at 573-751-5401.