Before 1968, there was no professional waste and recycling industry in Pennsylvania — and more than 1,000 unregulated dumps. These dumps were basically unprotected fields of trash or holes in the ground. Waste of all kinds — even toxic materials — was routinely discarded in these dumps. There was little to no regulation or oversight.
Eventually, the damage to our environment became indefensible. As a result, the Solid Waste Management Act was passed in 1968 and amended in 1980. The Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act was passed in 1988.
It took large investments to comply with the regulatory requirements established by these new laws. That, in turn, led to the growth of the private-sector recycling and waste industry and professionally operated recycling and waste facilities.