Show Less

A Handbook of Industrial Ecology

Edited by Robert U. Ayres and Leslie W. Ayres

Industrial ecology is coming of age and this superb book brings together leading scholars to present a state-of-the-art overviews of the subject. Each part of the book comprehensively covers the following issues in a systematic style: the goals and achievements of industrial ecology and the history of the field; methodology, covering the main approaches to analysis and assessment; economics and industrial ecology; industrial ecology at the national/regional level; industrial ecology at the sectoral/materials level; and applications and policy implications.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 44: Municipal solid waste management

Clinton J. Andrews


Clinton J. Andrews People generate garbage as they live their lives, as they produce and consume. In the process of disposing of this garbage they in turn generate many headlines, signs of unresolved controversies. Waste disposal has been a concern for as long as there have been human settlements, and current debates have ancient origins. This chapter examines municipal solid waste (MSW) management from the industrial ecology and political economy perspectives. It excludes industrial wastes (see Chapter 32) and constructionrelated wastes, and focuses primarily on household and small commercial waste streams. Since the field of industrial ecology is motivated in part by dissatisfaction with current waste management practices, this chapter also considers implementation issues affecting industrial ecology. Solid waste management involves both public and private actors, and cultural, political and economic judgments. Over historical time the definition of trash has been a moving target. Current management practices are best understood in historical and politico-economic contexts. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Archaeologists have identified persistent themes in MSW management. For example, Bronze Age Trojans periodically became so offended by household waste that they covered it with clay; ancient Mesopotamian cities were invariably located upwind of remote garbage dumps; in Old Testament Jerusalem, people incinerated their garbage in the nearby valley of Gehenna (later a synonym for ‘hell’); and the wealthy Classic Maya generated more reusable and recyclable trash than their poor Late Post-Classic descendants (Rathje and Murphy 1992). For most of recorded history, household wastes not left on the floor...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.