When it comes to East Coast garbage, Ohio is now and long has been “the heart of it all.” The $4.75 per-ton tipping fee in Ohio is way below the cost to dump on the coast, so for more than a generation trains loaded with out-of-state waste have been bound for Ohio. Now, because of strong opposition from Fostoria over the unwanted freight shipped to Sunny Farms Landfill, the only constitutionally acceptable remedy is up for debate at the Ohio Statehouse.
Sen. Bill Reineke (R., Tiffin) proposes (“Proposal would increase trash fees to discourage out-of-state waste,” Tuesday) a 79 percent increase in Ohio’s tipping fee to $8.50 per-ton. Interstate commerce protections in the U.S. Constitution allow for no other way to make Ohio landfills less attractive to East Coast garbage haulers. Ohio cannot discriminate between in-state and out-of-state waste with different prices.
This isn’t the first time state lawmakers serving districts outraged over the ill-effects of out-of-state waste have proposed a big price hike to eliminate the financial advantage of dumping in Ohio.
Much of the debris from the 9-11 attack on New York City is buried in northeast Ohio. Just as in Fostoria, nearby residents objected and efforts began to close the gap between Ohio waste disposal fees and nearby East Coast states.
Obviously that did not happen. To keep out-of-state waste from being shipped to Ohio, citizens are going to have to pay a much bigger garbage disposal fee. Ultimately, a 79 percent increase in landfill fees will not be absorbed by local governments or private haulers. Residents generating the waste will have to pay the $56 million cost.
Ohio’s way low tipping fee hasn’t increased since 1992 so there’s a good case to be made for an increase. Moreover, being too cheap has turned Ohio into a garbage magnet, to the consternation of citizens who live nearby.
Normally a huge increase in any government fee is evidence of overreach and is ripe to be pruned to a more reasonable number. But in this instance, only a huge increase in the waste disposal tipping fee will bring costs in Ohio to parity with East Coast states when the shipping costs are included.
It is all or nothing regarding a change in Ohio’s waste disposal fees. While it is hard to advocate for a vast increase in fees (“Landfill or trash bill – either one must expand,” July 28, 2022), it is the only way to end the avalanche of East Coast garbage. This is worth paying for.