The RCRA defines solid waste as "any garbage, refuse, sludge from a waste treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semisolid, or contained gaseous material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations, and from community activities..." (RCPA §1004, 42 USC §6903). The remainder of the definition excludes certain materials from solid waste, thus omitting them from solid waste regulation under the RCRA.
States are encouraged to develop solid waste management plans which enable waste to be controlled on a local level. While the RCRA does not directly regulate state solid waste programs, it directs the EPA to develop guidelines for states to follow. These guidelines are developed under subtitle D of the act. In addition, the RCRA establishes minimum requirements upon which states can model solid waste plans. The requirements prohibit open dumping of solid waste and mandate the closing or the upgrading of operational open dumps.
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