From Truck to Transfer Station Where Does All the Garbage Go?

 We've heard all the New Jersey jokes, and though we might be insulted, we've  probably told some ourselves. From Benjamin Franklin to George Carlin, New  Jersey has been the on the receiving end of such questions as, “Why does New Jersey have more landfills, and California have more lawyers” or declarations of “the Garden State... if you’re growing smokestacks.”  

 For centuries, New Jersey has been much maligned for its vital and lucrative  role as the dumping ground between New York and Philadelphia. Things have  changed though and during the past two decades, we've seen New Jersey,  sometimes known as “The Landfill of Opportunity,” take that nickname all the way to the bank.  

 In the early 1990s, the state of New Jersey created a near monopoly out of the  waste disposal business, disposing of all of its own garbage as well as that of  the states of New York and Pennsylvania. By 2000, privatization of waste  management had become the norm and garbage had become “a commodity to be traded anywhere,” according to Walter Porter, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of  Environmental Protection (NJDEP).  

 Porter explains that, “in 1996, state policy was stricken down in court as being an impediment to  interstate commerce. As a result, solid waste now travels in and out of New  Jersey on a daily basis.”  

 According to Porter, New Jersey disposal facilities are highly competitive with  other out-of-state facilities and as a result both the tipping fees (fees  charged to trash haulers to dispose of their trash, usually charged per ton)  and the cost for waste disposal have gone down in recent years. This is grown  advantageous to residents and the industry alike. Communities in New Jersey are  able to take advantage of low landfill rates in Pennsylvania as well as accept  money to handle garbage from New York.  


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