Missouri Landfills Contain Millions of Dollars of Recyclables
solid waste composition study recently completed for the Missouri
Department of Natural Resources found a significant percentage of the
municipal solid waste deposited in Missouri's landfills has the
potential to be recycled.
The Midwest Assistance Program Inc. conducted the 2006-2007 Missouri
Municipal Solid Waste Composition Study for the department's Solid
Waste Management Program. The department will use the information
gathered from this study to help plan waste reduction programs, measure
the effectiveness of current waste reduction programs and target
recoverable materials that have the potential to be recycled.
Municipal solid waste, generated by homes, schools, small businesses
and other commercial activities, was sorted at 15 solid waste disposal
facilities. The study found nearly 45 percent of the municipal solid
waste deposited in Missouri landfills could be recycled, including
metals, paper, plastics and glass. The study estimated more than 1.9
million tons of recyclable materials were disposed of in Missouri
landfills each year. If recycled, the potential economic value of the
materials as commodities would have been approximately $208 million
Using recovered materials in manufacturing new products saves
energy, money and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. If recyclable
materials in Missouri's municipal solid waste were recovered instead of
disposed, nearly 28 billion British thermal units of energy could have
been saved, equivalent to the amount of energy used by 262,000 houses
in a year. This would amount to cost savings of more than $500 million,
based on the average cost of propane for 2006 and 2007.
"It is important to focus efforts on recovery of these resources for
both their environmental benefits and the economic value derived from
recycling them," said Department of Natural Resources Director Doyle
Childers. "The results of this study will assist Missouri's 20 Solid
Waste Management Districts in designing and implementing programs to
reduce, reuse and recycle targeted materials within the municipal solid
More information on the study can be found at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/rrr/rrr.htm.