The state of the American landfill

Slate offers a brief history of American trash, its handling, delivery and final destinations.   Before 1931,  New York City’s trash was dumped into the Atlantic Ocean.  Later, it was hauled to a series of local dumps, and today, it is shipped over state lines to landfills down the Atlantic coast and into the midwest.  Though there are fewer landfills today than in 1986—and more stringent landfilling regulations—the volume of trash produced by Americans is rising, and sprawling mega-landfills continue to grow.

[T]rash shipments can be big business for states willing to accept them. Kentucky, for example, has room for 212 million tons of waste. At the going rate of $29 per ton, that’s a $6 billion economic opportunity. Ohio has $21 billion of available landfill space. Because of political opposition to local landfills, most Northeastern states’ trash will probably be riding the rails for a long time to come.

(via The Heap)

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