Waste-Based Economic Development in Springfield, Missouri


Kent Brown

Date of Graduation

Spring 1992


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Barbara Becker


With the growing public interest in solid waste management, the question arises of what communities are to do with their accumulated solid waste. The hypothesis of this study is that recovering resources from the municipal solid waste stream and attracting and developing industries that can reuse them is beneficial to municipal governments. To test this hypothesis, the study focused on the City of Springfield. A waste audit to determine the amount of recyclable present in the waste stream revealed a large supply of resources presently being recovered and still larger quantities potentially recoverable. Research was conducted to identify industries that use recovered resources, and to determine if the quantities recovered in Springfield were sufficient to permit efficient reuse. The results showed that the amount of resources recovered from the waste stream would be sufficient to supply specific industries. Additionally, the costs and benefits of recycling as a waste management strategy were examined. Landfilling is the City's current method of waste management. The City of Springfield's present landfill will be filled to capacity in six years. Building a new one capable of meeting the City's needs for ten years will cost between $30 and $50 million and consume at least 300 acres of land. A recycling program capable of reducing the amount of waste entering the landfill by 25 to 40 percent will cost $20 million. With the potential to divert substantial amounts of material out of the landfill, a recycling program could extend the life of the present facility and out of the landfill, a recycling program could extend the life of the present facility and reduce the size of a future landfill. Furthermore, recovered resources can be used as an economic development tool. By marketing these recovered resources to industry the City converts part of its waste problem into an asset for attracting new industry which in turn creates new jobs and increased tax revenues. Resource recovery and reuse makes sense for communities because there is ample supply of materials within the waste stream, means of recovery through recycling programs, means of production through industrial reuse and economic and environmental motivation on the part of municipal governments to reduce landfilling.

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


© Kent Brown