At WASTECON in Nashville, TN, there’s been much discussion of China Sword and the effects it’s had on the waste and recycling industries. More Southeast Asian countries are beginning to impose stricter waste import regulations. The trade war and retaliatory tariffs have now engulfed our industries. These are big problems that need to be dealt with.
But there are some not-so-big problems we’re dealing with that are taking place within city limits.
St. Louis, MO, has an illegal trash dumping problem. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tree limbs, old tires, mattresses, and drywall are unlawfully being discarded by the truckload. The majority of the perpetrators are from out of town.
The newspaper reports, “’The dumping fee costs the city about $35. To dispatch a loader, workers, and truck to clean up the illegal dumping, it could be as high as $1,000, depending on the situation,’” says Todd Waelterman, the city’s director of operations.
“In fiscal year 2017, residents dropped off 9,000 tons of refuse at the two city dumps. By comparison, city departments led by the forestry division picked up 22,000 tons of illegally dumped items. That does not include the 52,000 tires that have to be disposed of separately.”
The city’s Board of Aldermen approved a trash fee hike last year in order to pay for surveillance cameras used to catch illegal dumpers in the act. A local TV news investigation shows the cameras are proving to be effective.
There’s also a $100 reward for anyone who provides information to police that leads to a conviction. To date, eight people have collected the money.
Of course this problem isn’t confined to St. Louis. The EPA estimates that some urban areas across the US are spending several million dollars per year cleaning up and disposing of illegally dumped waste.