Because of “Big Trash.” That’s right: even the sanitation and waste management industry has corporate interests at stake (if there nothing that doesn’t get commercialized in this country?)
Earth Island Journal explores the world of for-profit trash collection and its influence on state composting policies in its fall issue. In the piece, writer Jason Mark looks at Waste Management, the largest garbage company in the United States, and its lobbying efforts to change state laws enacted to keep compostable yard waste out of landfills:Since 2009, Missouri, Florida, and Georgia have re-written their laws governing yard waste in landfills. In two of those states—Florida and Georgia—Waste Management played a prominent role in pushing to overturn the yard waste bans. Earlier this year, Waste Management made an effort, unsuccessful so far, to rewrite Michigan’s yard waste law. A Waste Management executive, Vice President Tom Horton, told lawmakers that the Michigan yard waste ban is a subsidy for composting businesses and “should be viewed as…corporate welfare.”
These efforts to keep organic waste out of dumps have been pretty successful so far. The US created 250 million tons of trash in 2010, 34 percent of which was diverted from the waste stream by composting or recycling. Yard trimmings and food scraps account for 27 percent of the waste we have been able to keep out of the landfill through these forward-thinking compost policies.