Hidden Recession Benefit: Less Trash

Drop in consumer spending helps environment

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There may be one upside to the drastic drop in consumer spending. People are buying less, so they are throwing away less. And that means less trash and garbage in the nation’s landfills.

    Take Virginia. A new report suggests landfill contributions dropped by more than ten percent last year.
    The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality just released its 2009 solid waste report. Solid waste includes municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris, vegetative and yard waste and other types of waste.
    The DEQ report indicates that all but one landfill in the Fredericksburg area handled less trash in 2009 than in 2008. The lone exception was the Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board landfill, which accepts trash from Stafford County and Fredericksburg residents, according to a report on Fredericksburg.com.
    The RRSWMB landfill in Stafford handled 108,000 tons of trash last year, up from 101,000 tons in 2008.
    Overall, 200 landfills across the state disposed of 19.5 million tons last year -- about 2.5 million tons, or 11.4 percent, less than in 2008.
    Of that amount, approximately 5.3 million tons of municipal solid waste came from out of state, a decrease of 1.3 million tons.
    The District, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina accounted for 97.5 percent of all waste received from out-of-state sources, the report said.