From: The Honorable Matt Cartwright
Sent By: Josh.Stephani@mail.house.gov
Date: 4/7/2016

Dear Colleague,

Too often one community produces trash but another community has to live with the consequences.  And while certain individuals might profit from this situation, too often the community has little say in the trash entering their community and only feel the burden and don’t see any of the benefit.

For example, each year, New York City produces nearly 8 million tons of garbage from both residents and businesses.  Of that number, roughly 75% of the city’s trash is sent to surrounding states and communities who bear the burden and consequences of living with huge landfills in their neighborhoods.

The growing amount of municipal waste paired with the shrinking availability of landfill space poses significant financial and societal costs on our local and state governments.  To address these issues, states develop solid waste management plans which address trash reduction, recycling, reuse, disposal, education and outreach, permitting and enforcement, and fees.

The Trash Reduction and Sensible Handling (TRASH) Act of 2016 amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965 to allow States to manage the waste coming into their state.  Under this legislation, any State waste plan may include, at the option of the State, provisions that:

  • Restrict interstate waste imports from states who do not have equivalent waste disposal standards.  For example, if a State or local municipality requires certain amount of recycling, composting, or waste reduction measures, that State would be able to restrict out-of-State waste unless the exporting State complies with the same or higher standards.
  • Allows a State to impose a higher fee on out-of-State waste (regardless of the exporter’s compliance with in-State waste handling and reduction measures).  The fee would be called a community benefit fee, which a state may provide to an affected community.  States would be allowed to differentiate the fee on waste disposed of at a landfill versus at an incinerator or waste-to-energy facility.

Through the TRASH Act, States and communities will have more power in determining the importation of solid waste.  States will be better able to control what comes in and out of the State and at the same time, impose fees that would benefit the communities receiving waste.  Moreover, the bill would incentivize states to enhance their waste disposal standards to facilitate the export of waste out of their state.

The growing cost of removing waste as well as the shrinking landfill space as placed this important issue in the spotlight.  Combined with effort aimed at curtailing the financial burden of trash, we must consider and act to ensure that communities receiving waster are protected as well.

Please cosponsor the TRASH Act to help protect our communities and raise our standards of waste disposal.  If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to co-sponsor this legislation, please contact Josh Stephani (Josh.Stephani@mail.house.gov or 5-5546) in Congressman Cartwright’s office.