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Waste Disposal Conclusion and Bibliography

Despite the various new technologies that are emerging for solid waste disposal, landfilling still remains the most common solution in the northeastern Illinois region. The establishment and closure of landfills could pose a potential hazard to ground water, due to leachate seepage, and air quality due to gases released. Unless proper maintenance and management is sustained for a fairly long time (30 years), public health may be compromised as a result. Such management is costly and potentially dangerous if faulty. Thus, a safer and more sustainable approach may be minimizing the number of landfills constructed and insuring their longevity so as not to continue taking viable land for waste disposal. It is therefore critical to divert waste from landfills through reduction and recycling.

The Chicago metro area produces the most waste per capita in the state in spite of advanced and available resource reduction and recycling options. If we continue on this trend, we will face grave consequences by 2040 or before. Clear and decisive actions must be taken today to avert costly and environmentally compromising means for disposing of our waste in the future.

There seems to be significant awareness of the importance of recycling in the region, however not all communities have curbside collection at single and multi-family homes, specifically in the unincorporated areas. Generally, businesses in the region do not have a mandate or incentive to recycle other than consumer appeal which does not necessarily prompt them to partake in these activities. Open/illegal dumping and burning of unacceptable wastes has been listed by several solid waste professionals in the area whom we surveyed. Although these experts are in consensus that landfilling waste is the most economical disposal method, they also agree that more recycling and resource reduction should be attained to reduce the continuous need for landfills. That said, not all counties have recycling ordinances, the main reasons being political opposition and lack of funding for personnel to propose, monitor and enforce regulations. The various counties and municipalities will have to collaborate to reach a comprehensive solution that addresses solid waste disposal regionally. CMAP can play an important role towards that end in proposing policies and techniques that will handle this issue in an innovative and sustainable manner.


Beck, R.W. 2007. "The US Recycling Economic Information Project." Illinois Recycling Association (IRA). Retrieved from http://www.illinoisrecycles.org/newstudy.html

Delong, James V. 1993. "Public Policy Toward Municipal Solid Waste." Annual Reviews.

Gunther, Marc. 2007. "The End of Garbage." Fortune, CNN Money. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/03/19/8402369/index.htm

Illinois Recycling Association (IRA), 2007. "Recycling Facts." Retrieved from http://www.illinoisrecycles.org/facts.html

Johnson, LaMar J., D.E. Daniel, W.V. Abeele, J.O. Ledbetter and W.R. Hansen. 1978. "Effects from Past Solid Waste Disposal Practices" Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 27, pp. 215-221

Kelly, Walton R. 2002. "Temporal Changes in Shallow Ground Water Quality in Northeastern Illinois: Preliminary Results." Illinois State Water Survey.

Murphy, J. 2008. "Recycle Your Building Materials Prior To Demolition." Dearborn Post. Retrieved from http://blog.teardowns.com/?p=63.

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, 2000. "A Regulatory Strategy For Siting And Operating Waste Transfer Stations- A Response to a Recurring Environmental Justice Circumstance: The Siting of Waste Transfer Stations in Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color." A Federal Advisory Committee to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

National Solid Waste Management Association, 2004. "Source Reduction." Retrieved from http://wastec.isproductions.net/webmodules/webarticles/anmviewer.asp?a=1124

Northeastern Illinois Regional Planning Commission, 1986. "Regional Solid Waste Management Policy Plan: An Element of the Comprehensive General Plan of Northeastern Illinois."

Northeastern Illinois Regional Planning Commission, 1998. "Solid Waste Management in Northeastern Illinois: A Regional Update."

Office of Land Management, 2006. "Non-Hazardous Waste Management and Landfill Capacity in Illinois." Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

Philips, J.A. 1998. "Managing America's Solid Waste" National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Rathje, W. L. 1995. "The Garbage Project and the Archeology of Us."

Sladky, Lynn. 2006. "Florida Plans to Vaporize Landfill Trash." USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-09-09-fla-county-trash_x.htm

Solid Waste Agency of North America (SWANA), 2006. "America's Own Energy Source: Clean, Renewable, Safe, and Economical."

Spiegelman, Helen and Sheehan, Bill. 2005. "Unintended Consequences: Municipal Solid Waste Management and the Throwaway Society." Product Policy Institute.

United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2008. "Transfer Stations." Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/transfer.htm

United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2008. "Methane Emissions from Landfills." Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/landfill/overview.htm

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