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Study: Virginians buying, tossing less
Amount of solid waste buried in landfills down again, state report says

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Date published: 6/27/2010


Virginia's landfills, it seems, are good economic indicators.

In good times, people buy lots of things--refrigerators, clothes, furniture, TVs, toasters, toys, groceries. When times are bad, there's less buying so less gets thrown away.

That has been the trend statewide since 2007, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which released its 2009 solid waste report this week.

Solid waste includes municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris, vegetative and yard waste and other types of waste.

The DEQ says 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.

The R-Board landfill in Stafford last year handled 108,000 tons of trash, up from 101,000 tons in 2008.

Last year, the King George Landfill--by far the largest in the region and the only one that accepts out-of-state trash--had that distinction.

The landfill, off State Route 3, handled about 1.4 million tons in 2008. That dropped to about 1 million tons last year.

Still, that was good news for the county, which collected $6.3 million in host fees from Waste Management Inc., which operates the landfill.

Landfills in Fauquier, Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania counties also reported declines last year compared with 2008. Caroline, Culpeper and Westmoreland counties use transfer stations to send trash to other landfills, so they don't appear on the list.

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.

Washington, 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.

The Atlantic Waste Disposal landfill in Sussex County is Virginia's largest. It handled about 1.6 million tons last year. That's down from 2.3 million tons in 2008.

From 2006 to 2007, the total amount of waste handled in Virginia dropped 1.8 million tons, to about 23.4 million tons.


Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431
Email: rdennen@freelancestar.com

According to the Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia handled 19.5 million tons of waste in 2009.

Here's a breakdown by tonnage:

13.2 million

municipal solid waste

3.1 million

construction and demolition debris

1 million

industrial waste


incineration ash


yard waste



The rest consisted of petroleum-contaminated soil, tires, appliances, asbestos and regulated medical waste.

--Virginia Department of Environmental Quality