Interstate Waste Restrictions

Interstate Waste Restrictions 



NWRA opposes efforts to place restrictions on the interstate transfer of waste and recyclables.


Legislation introduced during the 115th Congress, the Trash Reduction and Sensible Handling (TRASH) Act of 2017 (S. 746 / H.R. 3967), sought to amend the Solid Waste Disposal Act to authorize states to restrict interstate imports and impose a higher fee on out-of-state waste. Under these bills, out-of-state waste would have only been permitted from states with waste handling and reduction standards equivalent to or higher than the standards of the state receiving the waste.

Such legislation, if enacted, would allow state plans to impose a community benefit fee on waste imported from out-of-state, which may be higher than in-state waste fees. States may provide those fees to impacted communities and differentiate community benefit fees based upon whether the imported waste was disposed of at a landfill, an incinerator, a resource recovery facility, a waste-to-energy facility, or other waste handling facility.

This directly contradicts our nation’s constitutional standard that the free flow of commerce between the states shall not be impeded. While states do have some authority to regulate interstate commerce, the burden imposed must not be so great as to outweigh either a state’s greater interest or its implied powers of regulation in the absence of congressional legislation. Furthermore, such restrictions stifle the free market and ultimately harm both businesses and customers. 

  • The free flow of commerce between the states is part of the bedrock of the American economy.
  • Imposing restrictions on out-of-state imports of waste creates artificial barriers to free market competition.
  • Decreasing options for disposal of waste harm businesses and customers.

Updated January 2019.