Friday, September 25, 2009

Dumping on King George

click to enlarge
I get some of my best post topics from talking to people. One of my people, lets call him BW for now, recently mentioned to me that the Alpha Ridge landfill is really more of transfer station than a landfill. The vast majority of the solid waste from Howard County that isn’t recycled is trucked 106 miles south to a landfill in King George, Virginia.

Everyday, trucks leave Marriottsville and take our garbage for a two hour ride down into the Virginia countryside. Though King George county is actually smaller in square miles (188) than Howard County (254) our population density (984 people per square mile) is much higher than theirs (93 people per square mile). I guess that leaves plenty of room for our shit.

Of course those nice folks down in King George aren’t exactly taking our garbage for nothing and I’m almost certain that their pricing doesn’t include shipping either.


Bob O said...

I think that they actually make quite a nice profit off the landfill in King George County, and that it is one of the major employers for that largely rural area. It's run by Waste Management (WM). Lot's of fossil fuel being burned to transport the trash, but it appears the cost is lower for Howard County to get rid of trash this way then to do it themselves.

Anonymous said...

Virginia is the destination for quite a lot of east coast municipal solid waste (MSW), a.k.a. trash. I used to work for the CSX RR in the Richmond area. A lot of the trash arrived by rail. If you see a CSX train on the line that runs through Jessup, Elkridge, etc., and it has cars with containers that say "EPIC" on the side, that's trash. It kind of ruined your day if you were taking lunch and one of these rolled by on a hot summer day.

Anonymous said...

"it appears the cost is lower for Howard County to get rid of trash this way then to do it themselves."

Basis for that assumption, please?

Thousands of communities around the country are using PAYT (Pay As You Throw) to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste that's generated and collected, and PAYT also allows those who generate less trash to have appropriately smaller bills for disposing of that trash (and similarly charges the more prolific trash generators higher fees).

Better yet, PAYB (Pay As You Buy) - just have an upfront, earmarked sales tax that covers the disposal cost based on weight and volume of product and packaging. I'm sure the producers, resellers, and retail property interests would support such a responsible change to help consumers understand their true costs when making purchasing decisions.

Or should we just go on subsidizing trashy lifestyles?