In many parts of the US and Canada, residents are still responsible for disposing of their own rubbish. 70 years ago, there was no trash pickup in rural areas, and even today, some municipalities actually charge residents for it, so there's are some people who will actually bring their own rubbish to the local dump or refuse centre. A mate of mine grew up in rural Connecticut, a place most people wouldn't associate with being a very undeveloped area, yet his family had a truck on the property that was only used to bring the rubbish to the dump. People in other parts of the country still burn their refuse, but it's becoming less common. Still, 70 years ago, anybody who lived outside of a major city or sizable town would have been burning their own rubbish for sure. Remember that back then, things weren't packaged the way they are today. The bulk of what we dispose of consists of plastic products which wasn't anywhere near as common a material then.