Though most of us are undoubtedly conscientious about how we deal with our personal garbage, sometimes a bulky item makes trash pick-up difficult. Whether you’re trying to get rid of your great aunt’s cumbersome bureau or looking to send a trusty mattress out to pasture, the temptation to leave things curbside can be strong.
But is it legal to dump things on the curb? As with most things that seem simple, the answer here is somewhat complicated.
Waste on a State By State Basis
Enacted in 1976, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is the principal federal law governing the disposal of solid and hazardous waste in the United States. Though it provides a framework for the proper management of this waste, it leaves it in the hands of each individual state to set up systems that work for them.
Basically, state RCRA programs have to be at least as exacting as the federal one, but can adopt more stringent requirements as needed. Minnesota, for example, recently established a strict set of recycling laws geared toward large commercial businesses and sporting facilities while California is actively working to streamline its process for recycling mattresses.
So… What Can I Do?
Quite a lot actually! Every state is required to share protocols for curbside dumping online, so a quick Internet search of “state name + trash disposal” should provide you with all the information you need. Just make sure the source you check has a “.gov” tacked onto the end, ensuring that the URL is in fact powered by the local government.
You can also take a peek at our interactive infographic below. We at Sleepopolis hear a lot about illegal mattress dumping, so thought it’d be interesting to dig into the issue and figure out just how prevalent the problem is.
To use, simply toggle across the map to see how many people admit to illegal dumping in each state. Find this tool useful? Feel free to share it on your site!