Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Peterson, Donald C.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Journalism


Refuse and refuse disposal--United States--History--20th century


As the list of environmental crises such as Love Canal is increasing, people are using a variety of means to solve waste problems. Yet, waste problems persist. Although research concerning waste practices and problems is voluminous, previous research has focused on particular waste issues or on case studies. Even though focusing on particular areas of study increases what is known about waste, such limitations preclude providing an overview of waste practices and problems. An overview is needed to determine how to solve waste problems in general. To provide an overview, this study describes and classifies waste practices and problems of the United States and of Chicago, in particular. Descriptions are general in nature and cover various aspects of waste, including history, engineering, treatment, incineration, reuse, landfilling, economics, politics, regulations, quantity, composition and social aspects. Classifications of waste practices are technical. Except for occasional asides, the special problems of radioactive waste are not examined. This study concludes that waste is a national problem that has not been solved because people's attitudes about waste are an impediment to solving waste problems. The social attitudes based on nonempirical evidence that impede solutions are the not-in-my-backyard syndrome and the pollution control culture attitudes. Economic considerations are not intrinsic limitations for solving waste problems. Waste reduction is an effective and efficient practice which solves waste problems in the short-term and long-term. The use of available engineering technology and of waste reduction practices could solve waste problems.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [120]-124)


v, 124 pages




Northern Illinois University

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