The Bureau of Mines conducted research to devise technology for increasing the nation's mineral supply by recovering valuable constituents from currently discarded waste materials. Municipal solid waste (MSW), presently a major disposal problem, represents a significant source of metals, glass, and a combustible fraction that can be used to supplement coal in generating heat and electricity. As part of the total metallurgical system to treat MSW, this study evaluates the combustible fraction of MSW to characterize the various combustible components and to identify the principal sources of elements that eventually may be objectionable from corrosive or environmental considerations. Several possible sources for cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc have been tentatively identified. These sources are pigments, inks, paper stock, and additives to plastics. A correlation between industry consumption values and measured concentrations in MSW was found for several elements.