Waste Business Journal (WBJ) reports annually on trends in waste disposal. Its latest analysis (July 2020-June 2021) of waste disposal pricing found that the average price to landfill a ton of municipal solid waste (MSW) is closing in on $60, up 9.4% from a year ago. “Remarkably,” notes WBJ, “average tipping fees rose almost 3% in 2020 to $54/ton from $52.37 in 2019, despite COVID and the decline in 2020 tonnages. Over the longer-term, landfill pricing, which had been growing at a steady clip of around 3.5%, stalled as companies and municipalities struggled to hang on to business from cash-strapped customers. Today’s prices are reflective of the recovering economy, inflationary pressures, decreasing landfill capacity and pricing discipline exercised by the large waste companies.”
WBJ found that disposal volumes are up nearly 10% from their pandemic lows in March and April 2020. “This is in almost perfect tandem with U.S. monthly Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a popular indicator of the nation’s economic health,” notes the analysis. “Much of the increase can be attributed to rebounding commercial volumes which many companies report now are between 85% and 95% of their pre-COVID levels.”
The most expensive state to landfill MSW is Massachusetts ($122.63/ton), followed by Minnesota ($119.69), Vermont ($116.46), Rhode Island ($100.20), and Washington ($100.08). The least expensive state for landfill disposal is Idaho ($27.83/ton), followed by Utah ($31.49), New Mexico ($38.71), Mississippi ($38.93) and Montana ($39.03). By region, the Northeast has the highest fees; the Midwest surpassed the Pacific in early 2021. The Southeast has the fourth lowest of the five regions and the West is the least expensive. Interestingly, the volumes disposed in the five regions don’t directly reflect the average tipping fee prices. For example, the Southeast had the highest disposal volume (332,547 tons/day (tpd)) while the Western region, with the lowest fees, landfilled 217, 247 tpd. The Midwest, which ranked second highest in disposal fees, landfilled 284,231 tpd. The Pacific region came in at 181,385 tpd, and the Northeast — with the highest tipping fees — was ranked last at 143,666 tpd.