The political power behind big trash

Pasadena, Calif. trash collection
Pasadena Public Works trash trucks collect garbage and yard waste on October 10, 2008 in Pasadena, Calif.
David McNew/Getty Images

Earth Island Journal examined the world of for-profit trash collection and its influence on state composting policies. What kind of power does big trash have in America?

Jason Mark, Earth Island Journal editor and author of the piece on trash, will join The Daily Circuit Thursday.

From his piece:

When the US economy dropped off a cliff in 2008, consumption slumped - as did the amount of trash people tossed out. The volume of waste generated by Americans fell for the first time since the government started keeping such statistics. While that might be good news for resource conservation, it's bad news for Waste Management, which earns much of its annual $13 billion revenue from the money it charges for disposing of trash.

"Their business model is based on controlling the landfills and ensuring that a lot of materials go there," said Peter Anderson, executive director of the Center for a Competitive Waste Industry. "They are doing this [lobbying to change the laws] to take more material to the landfill in order to make the demand for landfill tight, which gives them the power to charge monopoly rents."

Anderson and Tim Brownell, CEO of Eureka Recycling, will also join the discussion.

Are you happy with your trash, recycling and composting options? Comment on the blog.

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