We as a culture produce a lot of trash—and not just in the form of reality television shows, late night infomercials, and bad romance novels. Whether it’s the candy wrappers we toss into the trash bins outside on the sidewalk, the newspapers we take downstairs to the recycle bin, or half-eaten food we throw down the convector chute, we dispose of tons of trash annually. But where does it go from there? Put another way: how do the Garden State’s 8.8 million people take out the trash?
Every day, Central and Northern New Jersey residents produce hundreds of tons of trash—and once all that garbage is carted away from their driveways and stoops, most people don’t give it much further thought. The garbage has to go somewhere, however—and most often it gets shipped to landfills, transfer stations and treatment plants throughout the state, or onto barges where it’s shipped further afield.
While most everyone is happy to get their garbage off their hands, they tend to be less enthused about having those aforementioned landfills, transfer stations and treatment facilities anywhere near their homes or communities. And once you educate yourself about where your garbage is going, you’ll learn a lot more about the politics, money and greed surrounding New Jersey trash and its related issues.
New Jersey has 21 counties, and each county can decide how they want to dispose of their trash. Some choose to do waste flow control, and others don’t, says Larry Gindoff, solid waste coordinator for Morris County.
Waste flow control essentially means that the garbage is designed for a specific landfill or incinerator (most are actually within the county or in an adjoining county) rather than being shipped to various locations based on price at that moment.