To what extent is Federal direction or regulation needed in solid waste management. On the 21st of October, when the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) was signed into law, the answer to this question was provided to all of us. The new law is one that political scientists cite as evidence that the system works. It is among those laws which reflect the will of active public opinion on a given topic at a given historical moment. Built on the foundation of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965 and the Resource Recovery Act of 1970, the RCRA is the evolutionary product of several years of deliberations and hearings held by a number of committees of both houses of the Congress. It addresses problems and opportunities which are intrinsically a part of the solid waste management issue. It reflects a full awareness of those areas which involve a high level of technical understanding and knowledge as well as those areas of technical uncertainty, and relates both to the social and economic ramifications of improved practice. The Act reflects the fact that all levels of government, industry and a variety of environmental and other public interest groups had full opportunity to be heard.