Virginia Waste Industries Association
The Virginia Waste Industries Association (VWIA) is a chapter of the National Waste & Recycling Association. VWIA represents National Waste & Recycling Association member companies conducting business in Virginia. VWIA's mission is to promote the management of waste in a manner that is environmentally responsible, efficient, profitable, and ethical while benefiting the public and protecting the employees.
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National Waste & Recycling Association
633 South Atlantic Ave.
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Solid Waste Facts
Across the United States:
- Americans generate 4.3 pounds of solid waste (MSW) every day, almost twice as much as (2.7 pounds) as in 1960.
- The percent of MSW going into landfills is steadily declining, due largely to recycling and energy generation applications. (In 1985, 82% went into landfills; in 1990, 67%; and in 1995, 58%.)
- The number of landfills has declined from about 20,000 in the early 1970’s to about 2,900 due mostly to stiffer EPA regulations and increased financial requirements.
Virginia is recognized today as being a national leader in managing MSW by:
- Adopting strict Solid Waste laws and regulations that apply to all landfills permitted after 1988. Virginia’s solid waste regulations exceed federal requirements and are as strict as any in the nation.
- Requiring tough enforcement from its Department of Environmental Quality.
- Recycling approximately 35% of its MSW, among the highest percentages of any state.
- Permitting commercial development has provided available landfill capacity from currently permitted landfills that can handle Virginia’s needs well into the future.
- MSW is a $550 million dollar industry in Virginia, creating more than 5,200 jobs.
- Virginia exports all of the toxic and hazardous solid waste it generates that is not incinerated.
- The solid waste industry is a “clean” industry in economic development terms, because it places no increased burden on state or local infrastructure.
- Indeed, Virginia’s commercial MSW industry is the only industry that operates under a zero-tolerance policy for any environmental pollution emissions.
- Yet, the number of landfills operating in Virginia has declined, from about 328 in 1987 to about 74 today.
- Fewer, larger landfills are providing sufficient capacity to handle Virginia’s total MSW needs.
Economic Impact of Virginia's Privately-Operated Landfills, Transfer Stations and Waste Hauling Companies
There are currently a variety of privately owned landfill, transfer station and waste hauling companies doing business in Virginia. The Virginia facilities of these companies include seven privately operated regional landfills that are currently accepting out-of-state waste ("Regional Landfills"). These landfills are located in the counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Charles City, Gloucester, King and Queen, King George and Sussex. The Regional Landfills have generated substantial local government revenues, paid for infrastructure needs, enhanced Virginia’s environment, supported local charities and civic organizations and created hundreds of jobs for Virginians. The privately operated landfills, transfer stations and waste hauling companies in Virginia and the business these companies directly produced for their suppliers (the "Virginia Waste Industry") generated more than $118,000,000 in host fees and direct employment wages in 2004 for the communities where they are located.
Increased Local Revenues
The Regional Landfills share the revenues they earn from the disposal of waste with the communities in which they are located. In the last thirteen years they have paid over $184,775,185 in such "host fees" to Virginia local governments. In 2004, the Regional Landfills paid Virginia localities approximately $26,000,000 in these host fees. The more than $184 million in host fees paid by the seven landfills over the course of the past thirteen years have allowed localities to avoid the need for tax increases. In Charles City County, residential real estate taxes actually declined by twenty percent in the first years following the opening of its private regional landfill and real estate and personal property taxes have not increased in the last eight years.
The Virginia Waste Industry also pays significant taxes to their host communities. Excluding host fees, the Virginia Waste Industry pays an average of more than $9,400,000 per year in combined total state and local tax payments. Total property taxes contributed by the Regional Landfills and privately-owned transfer stations alone average about $1,347,000 annually combined.
Host fees from the Regional Landfills not only provide local general fund support, they also fund numerous local infrastructure improvements. These projects include construction of new elementary, middle and high schools, a new athletic field house, a new county administration building, a new county courthouse and administrative offices, a new school bus garage, jail additions, local resident waste disposal and recycling centers, a waste water treatment plant, a local industrial park and renovation of the County Industrial Development Office. Host fees have also been used for the establishment and equipping of fire and rescue services, upgrading of emergency communication and water supply systems and the purchase of county refuse disposal vehicles.
In addition to host fee payments, the Regional Landfills have also paid directly for $22,164,320 of other infrastructure and equipment purchases for their host communities. These payments were used towards new road construction, highway and bridge improvements, clean-up of abandoned tire piles, exhumation of an old landfill, hiring of county environmental inspectors, the purchase of a fire truck, closure of unlined local landfills, monitoring of closed landfills, the opening of waste disposal convenience centers for residents and construction of a county park
The Virginia Waste Industry provides direct full-time employment to about 2200 Virginians who are paid about $ 92,000,000 in wages annually. The industry is also indirectly responsible for an additional 136 jobs paying about $5,500,000 annually that are provided by the companies that do business with the landfills. In 2004, the Virginia Waste Industry expended about $66,000,000 for goods and services with businesses located in or based within Virginia.
Improving Virginia's Environment
All of the Regional Landfills are constructed with state-of-the-art environmental controls that meet new federal environmental protection requirements. These new “Subtitle D” requirements caused landfill construction costs to skyrocket from about $50,000 an acre to, depending upon the site, between $250,000 and $600,000 per acre today. As a result, Virginia’s local governments entered the 1990’s facing hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditures to close their existing unlined landfills and build new landfills that meet the Subtitle D requirements.
The Regional Landfills gave Virginia local governments an alternative to building their own new landfills. Communities that chose to host private regional landfills receive free waste disposal. Other Virginia localities have conducted competitive procurements that allowed them to contract for waste disposal at a private regional landfill at prices well below the cost of building their own new landfill. By providing waste disposal services to Virginia localities, the seven private regional landfills have allowed eighteen Virginia local governments to close one or more of their public landfills that failed to meet the Subtitle D requirements. In some cases, the operators of these private landfills agreed to exhume waste from the leaking, substandard public landfills and disposing of this waste in their modern, state-of-the-art facilities.
The member companies of the Virginia Waste Industry are also leaders in recycling. They provide recycling services under contracts with 35 Virginia localities and provide commercial recycling services to Virginia businesses in virtually every metropolitan region of Virginia. They also provide household hazardous waste and tire recycling services in Virginia. One of these companies currently is the biggest end-user of recycled tires disposed each year in Virginia and previously reclaimed one of Virginia’s largest tire piles.
Good Corporate Citizens
The Virginia Waste Industry is also comprised of good corporate citizens. Its members support a wide variety of charitable and civic organizations in the communities where they are located including the Boy Scouts, Junior Achievement, Ruritans, Rotary Clubs, Virginia Special Olympics, little leagues, volunteer fire and rescue squads, housing partnerships, litter prevention and control organizations, Christmas Mother programs, PTA, the National Child Safety Council, Make-A-Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society, and Virginia Future Farmers of America. They have built playgrounds at local schools, contributed funds towards the construction of a laboratory, a math and science center and special events at local high schools, made donations to local Parks and Recreation Departments and provided funding to a local Social Services Department to aid needy families and serve free meals to senior citizens during holidays.
Negative Impact of a State Trash Tax
Establishing a state trash tax will not only increase residential and commercial trash disposal rates, it will result in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue for Virginia’s local governments that host private regional landfills. The Virginia Waste Industry estimates a $2 per ton tax would reduce host community revenues by more than $6,000,000 per year and that the $5 per ton tax defeated at the 2002 veto session of the Virginia General Assembly would have resulted in the loss of $13,576, 915 per year to these Virginia localities.
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Releases
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