Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Subtitle D
Solid Waste in Georgia
The term solid waste includes regular household garbage (known as "municipal solid waste"), as well as sludge from waste treatment plants, nonhazardous industrial waste, construction debris, agricultural waste, mining waste, and many other discarded materials. Although Subtitle D regulates a variety of waste types, the majority is classified as municipal solid waste.
In 2008 a total of 16.3 million tons of solid waste were disposed of in Georgia. On average, each person
In Georgia the DCA and the EPD work together to properly manage and reduce solid waste in the state. The DCA educates the public through such programs as Keep Georgia Beautiful, which supports education about waste management and reduction, and compiles reports about solid-waste management activities in the state. The EPD's Solid Waste Management Program issues permits for solid-waste handling facilities, inspects these facilities, and issues surface-mining permits.
Land Disposal Capacity
Alternative Solid Waste Management
Methods other than landfill disposal are used to manage some types of solid waste. Yard trimmings are collected and disposed of without entering into typical municipal solid-waste landfills. Larger yard wastes, such as cut branches or old Christmas trees, are often chipped and used as mulch.
Another important component of solid-waste management in Georgia is recycling programs. Recycling such products as paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic not only reduces the amount of waste going into landfills but also preserves natural resources and cuts down on energy use. The sale of recyclable materials can also serve as a way for local governments to make money. In 2008 there were 401 local governments in Georgia that provided recycling services to their residents, and more governments are offering these services each year.
Georgia faces many challenges regarding solid-waste management. The state's current trends of decreased per capita waste production, increased recycling, and increased adherence to RCRA standards for landfills are all encouraging signs that Georgians will be able to meet these challenges successfully.
William C. Blackman Jr., Basic Hazardous Waste Mangagement, 3d ed. (Boca Raton, Fla.: Lewis Publishers, 2001).
William P. Cunningham and Mary Ann Cunningham, Principles of Environmental Science, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008).
Perry Craine, University of Georgia
Megan Crawley, University of Georgia
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