Solid Waste Management Program fact sheet
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Ed Galbraith

This guidance is designed to inform homeowners about the alternatives they have available to manage their residential waste.

What is Residential Waste?
Residential waste is solid waste produced by routine household activities, such as paper waste and garbage from daily activities. This does not include home remodeling wastes; wastes from home businesses; durable goods such as old appliances, carpets or furniture; tires or other non-routine wastes generated at a residence.

Reducing Your Residential Waste
The three Rs of waste reduction are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Many households already practice the three Rs discussed below. We strongly encourage all Missourians to practice these.

Some tips for reducing waste at home are:

It makes economic and environmental sense to reuse products. Creativity helps.

Recycling is a multi-step process that begins with collecting used or discarded material and ends when a consumer buys a product made from recycled materials. To support the recycling loop:

Residential Waste Disposal

Even if the three Rs are conscientiously practiced, some waste will still be left to dispose of. Most Missouri households manage their residential waste by using trash collection services or by taking it themselves to a landfill or transfer station. Some rural areas offer a “green box” service, which provides a dumpster near a centrally located county road for local residents to use. Green boxes are usually picked up or emptied once a week.

While the department encourages off-site waste disposal at permitted facilities, the Solid Waste Management Law does allow on-site disposal of solid waste provided the following criteria are met.

Solid waste disposed of on-site:

If you choose to dispose of your own waste on site, the department encourages you to bury the waste in an area away from any body of water, wetland or floodplain, cover the compacted waste with soil and vegetate the disturbed area.

In most rural areas, open burning of residential solid waste is allowed on the site where the waste was generated, provided it is not in violation of local laws or ordinances, or the laws and regulations of the Department of Natural Resources. Within certain areas of Kansas City (and contiguous municipalities), St. Louis and Springfield/Greene County open burning rules are regulated by city or county entities. If you live in these areas you should check with these local offices. Air regulations may also prohibit the open burning of residential waste generated by multi-family dwellings, such as apartment complexes and condominiums.

May I Sell Property That Contains a Solid Waste Disposal Area?
The Missouri Solid Waste Management Law (§260.213, RSMo) requires anyone selling, conveying or transferring property that contains a solid waste disposal site (whether buried or not), to disclose this information to a potential buyer early in the negotiation process.

What about Household Hazardous Waste?
Almost every home contains household products that are hazardous, such as cleaning products, automotive products, paint and lawn and garden chemicals. These are considered household hazardous products that contain chemicals that can present acute or chronic hazards to human health and to the safety of people handling it. Some household hazardous products, like paints, varnishes and pesticides accumulate in the attic or basement for years. Make sure all old household hazardous products being stored are in a non-leaking container that is clearly labeled. When household hazardous products are not used completely and are discarded, they become household hazardous waste.

Under state and federal law, these materials are not excluded from on-site disposal with your other residential waste. However, we strongly urge you to look into other options for managing household hazardous waste. Some cities, counties and Solid Waste Management Districts operate permanent household hazardous waste collection centers.

You can avoid having household hazardous waste by buying non-toxic or less hazardous products or by using up items before they become outdated and by trying to find an alternate use for your excess materials. For example, a community theatre group or youth group may be able to use donated paint or varnish to decorate sets or for various projects, or a homeless shelter could use donated cleaning supplies or paint. If the above options are not utilized, you are encouraged to call the Hazardous Waste Program at 800-361-4827 for further information on methods for reuse, reduction and disposal of your household hazardous waste. Waste reduction publications available through the Hazardous Waste Program are listed at the end of this bulletin. If no other options are found, household hazardous waste should be disposed of in your local solid waste landfill with your regular trash rather than on your own property.

Where do I go for additional information?
You may obtain more information about properly managing residential waste from the sources listed below.

Environmental publications are also available at