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The Economics of Waste

August 3, 2011


The weak economy is resulting in some unexpected effects: a glut of space in landfills. California says the amount of trash hauled to its landfills has dropped to its lowest level since the state began keeping track in 1989. While aggressive recycling and composting programs can take some credit, experts say the tough economy is the main driver. “People do in fact buy fewer cases of beer, less clothing and less food when they are unemployed,” Richard Porter, professor at the University of Michigan, told The Sacramento Bee. While the 1990s saw concerns over what was then a shortage of landfills, California is now said to have enough landfill space to last about 50 years.