Missouri regulations: Solid waste

The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) establishes national goals that are enforced in Missouri by the Department of Natural Resources. Among other provisions, RCRA prohibits open dumping and encourages waste minimization, recovery, recycling and treatment alternatives.

Solid waste is defined as garbage, refuse, discarded materials and undesirable solid and semisolid residual matter from industrial, commercial, agricultural or community activities. Examples of solid wastes includes paper, wood, yard debris, food wastes, plastics, leather, rubber and other combustibles, and noncombustible materials such as glass and rock.

Missouri generates over 12 million tons of solid waste each year. Most of this waste is going to landfills, but 40 percent of generated waste is recycled under a state mandate Missouri regulations authorize and require local governments of most communities to provide citizens and businesses with information on solid waste management and recycling to ensure that all trash, special wastes and recyclables are managed in the appropriate manner.

Items banned from landfills in Missouri include yard waste, major appliances, used oil, lead-acid vehicle batteries and tires. Other wastes, including used refrigerants from appliances and automobiles, must first be removed from their “host materials” and then reclaimed or otherwise properly managed.

Special collection and management programs have been developed for safe management of these items and other problem wastes, such as infectious waste and consumer electronics.

Unless a business is routinely storing tires on site, or processing, transporting, treating or disposing of waste, it is not required to have a permit. However, there are many emerging business opportunities in recycling and businesses engaged in these operations may need a solid waste permit.

Who should apply for a permit?

  1. Will the business have on-site disposal or burial of municipal solid waste, sludge form a wastewater treatment plant, dead animals, septic tank pumping, contaminated non-hazardous material, fly ash or bottom ash from coal combustion, construction waste or demolition waste?
  2. Will the business process, treat or transfer any infectious waste from off-site?
  3. Will the business process, treat or transfer any solid waste mixed with recycled materials from off-site?
  4. As part of normal operations, will the business regularly store or handle waste tires?

A “YES” answer to any of these questions may indicate that the business is required to obtain a permit from the MDNR. Contact the Solid Waste Program or your MDNR Regional Office.


For more information on solid waste permit requirements, see MDNR’s Environmental Permits and How to Obtain Them.