30 for 60 (million)
America’s 30 largest municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills took in nearly 60 million tons of discarded materials in 2019, according to Waste Today’s 2020 list of the largest landfills in the United States.
The 30 landfills listed represent sites where 1.5 million tons or more of MSW and other non-hazardous materials arrived in 2019. A dozen landfills surpassed the 2 million tons per year mark, with three of those 12 locations in California.
Publicly traded waste management firms operate the majority of the largest landfills in the U.S. Houston-based Waste Management Inc. leads with seven sites, followed closely by Phoenix-based Republic Services with six and Canada-based Waste Connections with four.
OC Waste & Recycling is the only public sector agency large enough to have two landfills on the list.
The large landfills the public relies on to keep its garbage out of sight and out of mind have widely varying projected closure dates. The Apex Regional landfill outside of Las Vegas could keep accepting MSW well into the 24th century, according to its operator.
Most other landfills are engaged in a permit-by-permit process to seek expansions, air rights and overall approval to keep operating until the end of this decade or into the next. Tonnage figures and projected closure dates have been obtained from a combination of industry sources, state and regional government filings and media reports, with San Diego-based Waste Business Journal being a particularly helpful source.
James Thompson Jr. and Waste Business Journal publish and update a directory of landfills in the United States, and provided or confirmed much of the data in the list. Information on the organization’s latest Directory of Waste Processing & Disposal Sites can be found at https://www.wasteinfo.com/diratlas.htm .