Less Money, Less Trash

An interesting article in the Washington Post ties a recession with the amount of garbage: hard times equals less waste. According to the article, landfill managers knew something was amiss in the economy when trash levels started to steadily drop last year. Some landfills have reported declines as high as 30 percent.

In fact, trash volume has dropped so much in the Loudoun county landfill in Virginia that instead of running out of space in 2012 as had been projected, the landfill will gain a year and a half of use. And in Prince William County, the amount of discarded refrigerators, washers, dryers and other appliances has fallen by 20 percent since the recession started.

Ben Boxer, spokesman for Fairfax County's solid waste management program said that the economy is forcing people to preserve, reuse and repair their stuff. Since the fall, Freecycle.org has seen as many as 70,000 people a week register to swap stuff. The same goes with clothes; at Goodwill's nine Washington area thrift stores, sales went up 52 percent in January while donations have fallen.

While the recession hopefully ends quickly, the new trend toward wasting less hopefully won't!