The first incinerator designed specifically for burning trash was made in Nottingham, England, in 1874. The first municipal trash incinerator built in the United States was made on Governors Island in New York in 1885.
Before the advent of dedicated incinerators, or "destructors" as they are called in the United Kingdom, people burned their trash in open piles or burn pits. Open burning is not a recommended method of trash disposal, due to the risk of wild fire. Burn barrels with grated covers are somewhat safer, as they prevent embers from becoming airborne, but still cause unpleasant odors and air pollution.
Modern municipal incinerators can burn up to 60 tons of trash per hour. Open-pit trash burning is illegal in many parts of the United States.