RICHMOND, Va. - The amount of trash shipped to Virginia from other places for disposal remained relatively flat last year after increasing in 2010 for the first time since 2006.
Virginia _ the nation's second biggest importer of trash, behind Pennsylvania _ took in about 5.6 million tons of trash and debris last year, up less than 1 percent from 2010, according to a report on solid waste released by the state Department of Environmental Quality. State law requires that the 208 permitted waste facilities in Virginia compile and transmit their data to the state agency annually.
According to the report, 26 states and jurisdictions, as well as several countries, including Canada and Mexico, shipped trash to Virginia for disposal last year. A majority of the out-of-state waste came from Maryland, New York, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and North Carolina. Maryland topped the list with more than 2 million tons sent to Virginia.
Overall, the total amount of household garbage, construction and demolition debris, vegetative and other types of waste received at Virginia facilities in 2011 increased more than 5 percent to 20.7 million tons. Waste from within Virginia increased about 7 percent to 15.2 million tons.
The amount of waste has historically been tied to the national economy _ waste is likely to rise when consumers have more money to buy more goods, meaning they have more stuff to throw away. Numbers have been fairly flat over the last few years largely because of the economic downturn, said DEQ spokesman Bill Hayden.
"When there's not as much economic activity, people aren't throwing as much away," he said. "That may be part of the reason for (the increase) but we really don't have a clear indication of exactly what else would be causing it."
Of the total solid waste managed in Virginia last year, nearly 75 percent of it was disposed of in landfills, about 12 percent was incinerated and the rest was managed by other methods, including mulching and recycling, the report said. Virginia plans to issue a separate report on the statewide recycling rate for 2011 later this year.
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality: http://www.deq.virginia.gov
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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