Recently the EPA announced new rules that will significantly increase landfill development and operating costs. This, in turn, will exacerbate the challenges of density and resource availability inherent in MSW management. The EPA expects the new rules to force the closure of over 200 landfills in the United States. Six counties in Colorado alone are in danger of losing their landfills and having to transport their waste longer distances to landfills that comply with the new rules.
At the same time, Chinese regulations are tightening the quality standards for material, driving prices down.
This reality can be a problem or an opportunity. Transporting waste and or recycling out of town to a city with a compliant landfill and capable recycling facility is expensive. In addition, it transfers landfill and recycling jobs to the receiving community along with the material.
Unfortunately, sorting systems are geared toward cities where the high costs of design, equipment and construction can be spread over a large quantity of material and the costs of operation can be spread over a large population.