Due to rapid urbanization, solid waste management (SWM) has become a significant issue in several developing countries including Thailand. Policies implemented by the Central Thai Government to manage SWM issues have had only limited success. This article reviews current municipal waste management plans in Thailand and examines municipal waste management at the local level, with focus on the Tha Khon Yang sub-district surrounding Mahasarakham University in Mahasarakham Province. Within two decades this area has been converted from a rural to an urban landscape featuring accommodation for over 45,000 university students and a range of business facilities. This development and influx of people has outpaced the government's ability to manage municipal solid waste (MSW). There are significant opportunities to improve local infrastructure and operational capacity; but there are few mechanisms to provide and distribute information to improve community participation in waste management. Many community-based waste management projects, such as waste recycling banks, the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle), and waste-to-biogas projects have been abandoned. Additionally, waste from Tha Kon Yang and its surrounding areas has been transferred to unsanitary landfills; there is also haphazard dumping and uncontrolled burning of waste, which exacerbate current pollution issues.