Key Words  
  Putrescible refuse, solid waste, vectors, insects, rodents
  The effective disposal of solid refuse from the urban environment is a fundamental requirement for a healthy city. Waste materials may be classified according to their origin and disposal technique. Municipal solid waste (MSW) is waste produced by the home, retail sector, offices, hotels, and similar activities, and will constitutes a large proportion of the waste produced internationally. MSW contains10 to 50% of putrescible organic material. As a result of this putrescible content, MSW may support infestation under appropriate conditions. At the point of generation, waste deposition has evolved from simply depositing the MSW in a heap to await collection, to use of refuse chutes, individual household refuse bins with or without sacks to contain the refuse, and community collection points. Many recycling and composting schemes require separation-at-source for MSW. All these approaches influence the pests associated with the curb-side refuse, and the level of infestation. As MSW is increasingly disposed of on a regional as opposed to a local basis, transfer stations increase in number, bringing their own special pest profile to the urban environment. Final disposal of refuse may take a number of routes. Recycling/re-use is a growth sector, and the international spread of tyre-inhabiting vector mosquitoes has resulted from this trade. Composting of organic waste is a fast- growing route in many countries, and in some situations may develop significant infestation. The proportions of MSW being incinerated or going to landfill are declining slowly, although the latter is still very important in terms of infestation and the impact of the infestation on the surrounding area, which may extend over many square kilometres. Greater environmental awareness coupled with economic pressures, are changing the way that MSW is processed around the world. Actively reducing the potential for infestation needs to be an integral part of the development of these new technologies, in order to avoid adverse repercussions on the urban environment.