- According to an annual report from Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the state processed 500,000 more tons of waste in 2015 than in 2014. The state's King George landfill handled the most with 1.4 million tons.
- This continues Virginia's status as one of the states which accepts the highest quantities of waste from outside its borders. Out-of-state waste increased by 3.4%, or 100,000 tons, as compared to 2014.
- The majority of waste was landfilled. Virginia contributed 15.3 million tons and the other 5.4 million tons came primarily from Maryland, New York, the District of Columbia, North Carolina, and New Jersey.
Unlike some West Coast states that have hundreds of years of landfill capacity, many East Coast states are running out of space and Virginia's landfills have become increasingly popular for disposal. For some communities that are struggling to balance their budgets, this has been a positive trend.
"It's a business. As it comes from out of state or within Virginia, it contributes to local economies. It can be a good thing when trash numbers rise," Bill Hayden of the state's DEQ told Fredericksburg.com.
Yet this idea has been much less popular in other states. Kentucky's Big Run Landfill agreed to stop accepting rail shipments of long-distance waste last year and the practice has also come under fire in Pennsylvania where the Keystone Sanitary Landfill is facing a challenge to its expansion proposal.
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania introduced the Trash Reduction and Sensible Handling Act last year, which would allow states to restrict waste exports, but the bill hasn't gained much traction since then.