Growth in manufacturing synthetic materials since World War II, much of which finds its way into the packaging of ordinary consumer goods and other household items, causes solid waste to be much more toxic today than it was two generations ago. However, the waste industry continually tries to change the classification of wastes, allowing more and more toxic materials to be landfilled in municipal solid waste dumps.
In July, 1997, several firms generating carbamate wastes won a lawsuit against the EPA for the agency's action listing such wastes as hazardous in 1995. Carbamates are chemicals used in agriculture, rubber processing, wood preservation and textile industries.
As a result, the EPA must now delist 28 such chemical wastes, allowing carbamates to be dumped in non-hazardous solid waste landfills. (Solid Waste Reporter, June 26, 1997).
A steady parade of delisted waste streams from particular industries can be found in the EPA's Federal Register notices--at least one such delisting every month on average since the carbamates delisting. Each time, the delisted waste moves from the "hazardous waste" category to the "municipal solid waste," allowing such waste to be dumped along with residential waste without any further treatment or special handling.