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EREF releases study on landfill tipping fees

The Raleigh, North Carolina-based Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF), has released an analysis of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill tip fees.   

EREF says the report includes information from 378 active Subtitle D MSW landfills in the U.S. The analysis is based on two methodologies. The first is an unweighted national average arrived at by averaging fees from the reporting landfills. The other method is based on the relative amount of MSW disposed of via landfilling and the tip fee at each facility to create a ton-weighted average.

EREF says the unweighted national average increased 0.6 percent from $53.72 per ton in 2020 to $54.03 per ton in 2021, while the ton-weighted national average decreased $1 per ton to $54.17.   

The Pacific and the Northeast have the highest fees per ton in the U.S., however; the Pacific saw a decrease in fees for the second year, declining by 9.8 percent.  

The fees in the Northeast increased for the second year, growing by 95 cents per ton, or 1.4 percent. The Midwest also showed a year-over-year increase, according to the report.

Fees in the Mountains/Plains, Southeast and South-Central regions decreased by an average of $2.16 per ton in 2021. 

The six-year trend in average tip fee suggests a slight increase in the unweighted national average, though the unweighted average remained stable between 2020 and 2021. The average year-over-year increase was 0.73 percent from 2018 through 2021.

States with active MSW waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities have higher tipping fees than those without them, according to the EREF report. The average MSW landfill tip fee was $58.42 per ton for states with WTE outlets in 2021, while states without WTE facilities have an average MSW tip fee of $48.14 per ton. This is a difference of $10.28 per ton, making landfilling 21 percent more expensive in the states with WTE operations last year. In 2020, tip fees in states with WTE outlets were 16 percent higher than those in states without these facilities.