- Landfill tipping fees charged to haulers in Arkansas may increase from $2.50 to $3.50, based on current law, though the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is objecting due to its effects on hauler and consumer bills. The increase would generate up to another $3.5 million in one year for the state’s landfill post-closure trust fund, according to Department Director Becky Keogh.
- The law to increase the fee was "unexpected" to lawmakers, according to Arkansas Online. It allows solid waste districts to add $1 in additional fees if the post-closure funds for the landfill drop to $15 million, which is projected to happen in Arkansas this spring.
- The Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee is in discussions with the Environmental Quality Department on whether the increase should take place. Changes to the law would have to be approved by the legislature, Keogh said.
A 1991 Arkansas law allocated $1 toward the landfill post-closure fund and $1.50 toward solid waste management and recycling. The $1 fee was to end once the post-closure fund reached $25 million, and resume if the fund dropped to $15 million.
In 2007, the Arkansas legislature banned electronic waste in landfills, and to deal with the accumulating waste, legislation was later passed enabling another $1 fee to support e-waste recycling. If the fund drops to $15 million and the $1 electronic waste fee resumes,bringing total cost to haulers to $3.50, both haulers and customers will take a financial hit, noted Arkansas Environmental Federation Executive Director Charles Miller.
"[Haulers] will factor [their increased rates] into the cost of doing business," Miller said.
Similar scenarios have happened before, and haulers have been proactive in finding ways to offset their tipping fees.
Added language or an amendment to the current legislation could end the $1 fee, and the landfill fees would remain at $2.50, while still allowing funding for the electronic-waste program for the next three years, Keogh said.