In Missouri, solid waste management is regulated to prevent threats to human health and the environment. Federal and state regulations may require individuals and businesses to obtain specific solid waste permits or licenses to conduct certain activities. The permits and licenses often have conditions and terms that direct the performance of actions or operations and ensure proper management and disposal of the solid waste. 

In most circumstances, solid waste is required to be placed in a permitted landfill for disposal. However, certain waste materials may be salvaged for continued use, or recovered and reused for another purpose that extends the value of that material. Some waste recovery, reuse or repurposing activities may not require a permit, as long as the activity does not cause a hazard to human health, a hazard to the environment or a public nuisance. Although the activities may be exempt from solid waste permitting requirements, there may be criteria you must meet to be granted the permit exemption. Examples of common activities and wastes that are permit-exempt, as long as other requirements of the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law and regulations met, are described below. These activities are discussed in greater detail within the tabs below: 

  • Removing items from the waste stream for reuse, whether that use is for the same or a different purpose. Recycling drop-off areas allow the public to participate in this reuse/ repurposing process
  • Individuals or single businesses and institutions sorting or separating waste on the property where it is generated, which is then reused on-site or taken elsewhere for reuse or manufacturing into new products
  • Composting or co-composting waste materials
  • Reusing bottom ash and boiler slag materials for ice and snow control or daily cover at a landfill
  • Reusing fly ash as a component of concrete or flowable fill
  • Reusing Type C fly ash, bottom ash or boiler slag for road base or structural fill or Type C fly ash as a soil amendment or for soil stabilization
  • Sorting and separating construction and demolition waste materials for reuse
  • Using “clean” waste materials for fill purposes to level ground or raise the ground’s surface elevation

Other activities or waste management processes may be exempt under solid waste permitting requirements, but are regulated under another state or local law, such as the Missouri Air Conservation Law, Missouri Clean Water Law or your local county or municipal ordinance(s). Before beginning any waste recovery or reuse activities, please consult with the department's Air Pollution Control Program, Water Protection Program and your local government to ensure you do not violate their requirements.

Beneficial Use

In Missouri, most solid waste is disposed of in a permitted sanitary, demolition or special waste landfill. However, certain waste materials can be used for an alternative use that will serve a beneficial purpose, usually as a fill material. The department may allow some wastes to be reused for specific, alternative purposes without having to meet some requirements of the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law and regulations. A beneficial use exemption allows material that would otherwise be required to be placed in a permitted landfill to be placed in a non-landfill location. This process can divert material from landfills that would otherwise be filled with large quantities of relatively inert non-hazardous waste. For more information, visit Beneficial Use.

Clean Fill

The Missouri Solid Waste Management regulations state that any area that receives only uncontaminated soil, rock, sand, gravel, concrete, asphaltic concrete, cinderblocks and bricks for fill or reclamation is not required to obtain a solid waste disposal area or solid waste processing facility permit, as long as this activity does not cause a health hazard, pollution, or a public nuisance. The materials described in the regulations that are approved for filling and reclamation are “uncontaminated” material and “inert” solids that are chemically inactive and not expected to dissolve or leach any soluble components. The materials are essentially expected to remain fairly stable and not dissolve or degrade significantly.

The defined uses for these materials are for filling or reclamation, intended to provide a beneficial use from the material. Any filling or reclamation project may not impact occupants of the area being filled or properties next to or near where the filling or reclamation is occurring. As long the materials and the project meet these criteria, the activity remains permit-exempt under the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law and regulations.

However, the actual act of filling may be regulated either by the Missouri Air Conservation Law or the Missouri Clean Water Law, depending on where the filling is occurring. Before beginning any fill or reclamation project, contact the department's Air Pollution Control Program and Water Protection Program to determine if there are other statutory or regulatory requirements that apply to these activities.


Healthy soil is an important and valuable resource for numerous Missouri landscapes, including those in our agricultural and horticultural industries. Compost is a humus-like product made from decomposed organic materials. Compost can be added to soil to help reduce water loss, reduce erosion, improve the soil structure and improve the habitat for beneficial soil organisms that restore soil fertility. The most common ways to create compost include static piles, aerated piles, aerated windrows, in-vessel, mass bed and vermicomposting. Backyard composting at your residence is a permit-exempt activity. For more information about residential composting, visit Composting at Home.

Commercial (large facility) composting is not much different than residential composting, but it is on a larger scale and uses equipment to manage the large piles being processed. During decomposition,  the organic materials in the large piles reach higher temperatures and more biological decomposition occurs. These conditions allow the facility to accept many different organic ingredients to mix together. Because commercial compost facilities accept large amounts of organic waste materials to process, they must actively and properly manage the materials to prevent any negative impacts to people living nearby or to the environment. These facilities or sites have more regulations to restrict and guide these operations. For more information, visit Composting - Beyond the Backyard: Large-Scale Operations.

C&D Waste

Waste materials generated when a building or other structures are constructed, renovated or demolished must be managed and disposed of according to the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law and regulations. However, the law and regulations do allow for sorting, separating and recovering the waste materials, as long as these activities are performed at the site where the materials were generated. These activities do not require a solid waste processing facility permit. Construction and demolition wastes may be taken from the property where the wastes were generated, to another location to separate the materials and recover items, if the department pre-approves the waste recovery process, in writing. For more information about this process, visit Construction, Renovation and Demolition Waste.


People are exposed to natural (background) radiation from many different types of sources, such as radiation from the sun and from naturally occurring minerals in water, rock and soil. The background radiation levels are mostly due to the naturally occurring forms of radiation in the earth’s crust, called radionuclides. Naturally occurring radionuclides produce what is known as Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM). NORM can also occur in the form of technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) when the minerals are artificially purified. Material containing NORM and TENORM, such as refractory brick used in boilers, ceramic insulators and sand blasting sand, may be disposed in landfills permitted to accept special waste, with prior written approval from the department. For more information, visit NORM and TENORM.