TABLE 2-1 Waste Generation in the United States, Numbers of Incineration Facilities, and Amounts of Waste Combusted

Type of Waste

Amount Generated (million tons/yr)

Number of Incineration Facilities

Amount of Waste Combusted (million tons/yr)

Municipal solid waste




Hazardous waste




On-site Incinerators




Commercial Incinerators




Industrial Boilers and Furnaces




Cement Kilns




Light Weight Aggregate Kilns




Medical waste




a Estimate is for 1996 as presented in “Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 1997 Update” Franklin Associates 1998.

b The Integrated Waste Services Association reports that there are 103 waste-to-energy facilities operating in the United States In addition, Franklin Associates (1998) reported that 19 facilities incinerated municipal solid waste without energy recovery.

c Estimate for 1991, presented by OECD 1996. Amount generated is largely in aqueous form. Does not include soil contaminated by hazardous waste. EPA estimates that hazardous waste incinerators burn 1.5 × 106 tons per year (Fed. Regist. 61(April 19):17358-17536).

d EPA (1997a) estimates that there were around 900 boilers in the United States in 1993. There were less than 50 hazardous waste-burning industrial furnaces operating in the United States during that time.

e OTA (1990) reports that estimate for medical waste, exclusive of that generated from home health-care, range from 0.3 to 2% of the total municipal solid-waste stream.

f Brian Strong and Katie Hanks, MRI, Feb. 22, 1999, memorandum “Emissions Inventory for Hospital, Medical, Infectious Waste Incinerators Covered by the Proposed Section 11(d)/129 Federal Plan.” EPA Docket number A-98-24, item II-B-1.

g Estimate of 845,500 is based upon 2,373 incinerators. Brian Hardee and Katie Hanks, MRI, July 16, 1997, memorandum “Revised Impacts of the Regulatory Options for New and Existing Medical Waste Incinerators (MWIs).” EPA Docket number A-91-61, item IV-B-072.

types is the focus of this discussion. Table 2-1 presents estimates of the amounts of those wastes generated, numbers of incineration facilities, and amounts combusted in the United States.

Municipal Solid Waste

Municipal solid waste is defined as the solid portion of the waste (not classified as hazardous or toxic) generated by households, commercial establishments, public and private institutions, government agencies, and other sources. This waste stream includes food and yard wastes, and a multitude of durable and

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