Waste Surcharges to Fund Composting and More

One funding mechanism with a proven track record of raising funds to reduce and recycle waste is the establishment of a per-ton surcharge on waste landfilled or incinerated. A waste disposal surcharge is typically a fee added to the per-ton tipping fees charged for waste disposal at waste disposal sites such as landfills, incinerators, and transfer stations. They can be charged to waste haulers or even at the generator-level such that households and businesses are taxed directly based on waste generated.

Featured here are various examples of waste surcharges or fees that allocate generated revenue to fund recycling, composting, and waste diversion efforts. Some also support other environmental programs (such as Pennsylvania’s grant program). While most of these waste surcharges are implemented at the state level, there are a few notable local examples too.

Check out our article “Surcharges on Waste Disposal Fund Composting,” which further discusses and analyzes these policies. We also helped introduce a model bill in Maryland for the 2022 legislative session, you can find more info on that here

Use our model legislation template to introduce a policy like these in your own state or locality.

Alameda County, California – Waste Disposal Surcharges

Since 1990, Alameda County has maintained strong momentum of achievement in waste diversion. Its robust system of waste management and diversion has enabled the county to achieve a 67% waste diversion rate, as of 2018.… Read More

Indiana – Waste Disposal Surcharge

Established in 1996, Indiana charges a state-wide solid waste disposal fee of $0.50 per ton on solid waste disposal at final disposal facilities in Indiana. The revenue is deposited equally into the Solid Waste Management Fund and the Indiana Recycling Promotion and Assistance Fund.… Read More

Iowa – Waste Disposal Surcharge

Iowa collects a base tonnage fee of $4.25 per ton on waste disposed of at municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills, which went into effect in 1987 via the Groundwater Protection Act of 1987 (presently Iowa State Code section 455B.310). Tonnage fee reports for Jan-Dec 2020 indicate $8 million in revenue.… Read More

Minnesota – Waste Generator Surcharges

Minnesota exhibits a unique example of a waste surcharge, where fees are collected at the generator level instead of at the disposal site. First introduced in 1997, Minnesota’s solid waste surcharges, called the Solid Waste Management Taxes, target household, commercial, and industrial waste generators. These taxes intend to incentivize participation in recycling and composting programs.… Read More

New Jersey – Waste Disposal Surcharge

In 1987, New Jersey became the second state in the country to make recycling mandatory. The state demonstrated its renewed commitment to waste diversion with the passage of the Recycling Enhancement Act (REA) in 2008, which imposed a recycling tax of $3 per ton of solid waste disposed at or transferred to a solid waste facility, including transfer to out-of-state facilities.… Read More

North Carolina – Waste Disposal Surcharge

The state of North Carolina implemented a Solid Waste Disposal Tax of $2 per ton on July 1, 2008, which generated $23 million in FY 2020-21. Revenue from the Disposal Tax currently supports city and county solid waste management programs and hazardous site cleanup, and previously supported a Solid Waste Management Trust Fund.… Read More

Ohio – Waste Disposal Surcharges

Ohio has a few surcharge fees on waste disposal that fund state level regulatory programs. The original surcharges were established in 1988 by Ohio House Bill 592 (now coded in Section 3734.57, Paragraph A of the Ohio Code). The fees have been amended several times since 1988. Now, Ohio has four state surcharge fees on the disposal and transfer of municipal solid waste.… Read More

Pennsylvania – Waste Disposal Surcharges

Pennsylvania is a pioneer in using State-imposed surcharges on top of existing tipping fees to fund state and municipal recycling and local land conservation programs. Revenues come from a $6.25-per-ton surcharge on top of municipal waste disposal fees.  … Read More

Santa Clara County, California – Waste Disposal Surcharges

Santa Clara County’s commitment to achieving zero waste is exemplified by its Sustainability Master Plan, which aims to achieve a 75% reduction in disposed organic waste by 2025 (compared to 2014 levels), in addition to a 25% reduction from 2019 levels of daily per-capita waste generation by 2030. One way that the County supports its waste reduction efforts is through surcharges on waste disposal.… Read More

Wisconsin – Waste Disposal Surcharges

Wisconsin established its “State solid waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, and resource recovery policy” in 1989 with Act 335, now codified in section 287.05 of the Wisconsin Statutes. This policy recognizes that waste reduction and diversion are in the best interest of the state to conserve resources, preserve the environment, and protect public health. The policy established a hierarchical preference of solid waste management options… Read More

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Sophia Jones

Sophia Jones is a Policy Fellow with ILSR’s Composting for Community initiative, where she researches, analyzes and supports the building of US policy that advances local composting. Her background in sustainable development and agriculture reflects her interest in solutions-based, community-led development initiatives.