The Economics of Waste

August 3, 2011
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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.

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Response to landfill glut comment

David Luttenberger
September 8, 2011
Porter's spin on the plight of purchasing power of the unemployed and the impact on landfill space has to be the oddest perspective on the economy and environment I've ever read.

Response to landfill glut comment

David Luttenberger
September 8, 2011
Porter's spin on the plight of purchasing power of the unemployed and the impact on landfill space has to be the oddest perspective on the economy and environment I've ever read.

response to landfill glut

Vicki
September 8, 2011
While I think that there is likely a valid correlation between the slow economy, people buying less and therefore less trash; I believe that this is but a small percentage in the overall reduction in waste as we have seen a huge push for recycling, reuse, and a conscious effort by consumers to purchase products with less packaging. Additionally, many companies have, in an effort to cut costs during these tough times, found ways to reduce packaging and associated costs. Porter's conclusion seems to leave out a number of other important factors.

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