Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Donald J. Rebovich
Modern society has been forever plagued by the problem of ensuring the proper disposal of refuse. Until recently, most people did not make a distinction between innocuous and dangerous wastes. Waste was considered by most people to be a common term describing all types of garbage. The ultimate destination of both innocuous and dangerous waste was the local landfill. Business firms dumping their wastes were considered to be nuisances, rather than criminals. The common images of the dumper and the criminal were worlds apart. In the 1970s, however, the growing threat to public health was underscored by an increasing number of high-profile acts of improper dumping of highly toxic wastes. This led to the enactment of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA), which made the indisciminate disposal of wastes that posed significant risks for human health and for the general environment a crime. Since the Grassroots ...