The city of Havana, the political, administrative and cultural centre of Cuba, is also the centre of many of the economic activities of the nation: industries, services, scientific research and tourism. All of these activities contribute to the generation of municipal solid waste (MSW), which also impact other Cuban cities. Inadequate handling of waste and the lack of appropriate and efficient solutions for its final disposal and treatment increase the risk and possibility of contamination. The main difficulty in the development of a system of management of MSW lies in the lack of knowledge of the chemical composition of the waste that is generated in the country as a whole, and especially in Havana, where solid waste management decisions are made. The present study characterizes MSW in Havana city during 2004. The Calle 100, Guanabacoa and Ocho Vías landfills were selected for physical-chemical characterization of MSW, as they are the three biggest landfills in the city. A total of 16 indicators were measured, and weather conditions were recorded. As a result, the necessary information regarding the physical-chemical composition of the MSW became available for the first time in Cuba. The information is essential for making decisions regarding the management of waste and constitutes a valuable contribution to the Study on Integrated Management Plan of MSW in Havana.