A Short History of Waste Disposal in America

1657   New Amsterdam (now Manhattan) passes a law against throwing waste into the streets

1710   Virginia colonists bury their trash, which consisted of broken pottery & glass, building debris, old armor

1834   Charleston, West Virginia passes a law protecting vultures from hunters because they helped clean up trash

1866   New York City Metropolitan Board of Health forbids throwing of dead animals, garbage, or ashes into the streets

1894   Alexandria, Virginia citizens sink garbage barges on the Potomac River to dispose of waste

1904   The first aluminum recycling plants in the America are opened in Cleveland & Chicago

1920’s  Refilling or “reclamation” of wetlands became popular & ushered in the era of landfills

1953   The American economy’s “ultimate purpose is to produce more CONSUMER goods.” Chairman of President Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisors

1965   The Solid Waste Disposal Act, the first federal solid waste management law, is enacted

1970   United States Environmental Protection Agency is created

1979   EPA issues landfill criteria that prohibit open dumping

1988   The EPA estimates that more than 14,000 landfills have closed since 1978, more than 70% of those operating at that time. The landfills were full, unsafe, or the owners declined to adhere to new standards

1990   140 recycling laws enacted in 38 states and the District of Columbia

1993 “We’re reminded a hundred times a day to buy things, but we’re not reminded to take care of them, repair them, reuse them, or give them away.” Michael Jacobson, Center for the Study of Commercialism

For a more thorough history visit http://www.astc.org/exhibitions/rotten/timeline.htm