Ohio – Waste Disposal Surcharges

State Fees on Waste Disposal and Transfer

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 1988.1  Now, Ohio has four state surcharge fees on the disposal and transfer of municipal solid waste. As of September 2021, the surcharge fees on municipal solid waste disposal total $4.75 per ton, broken down as follows:

  • $0.90 per ton – hazardous waste management and cleanup funds
  • $0.75 per ton – waste management fund (created in section 3734.061)
  • $2.85 per ton – environmental protection fund (created in section 3745.015)
  • $0.25 per ton – soil and water conservation district assistance fund (created in section 940.15)

The current $4.75-per-ton fee will sunset and be up for renewal in 2024. Although the fees must be renewed every few years, there has not been pushback on fee renewal since its inception in 1988. The current $4.75-per-ton rate has not changed since 2009. 

Fees are paid monthly by the owner or operator of the solid waste facility that first receives waste, and it is up to them if or how to pass on costs to the customer. The surcharge fees also apply to any waste generated outside of Ohio that is disposed of in Ohio. Data from 2018-2021 shows an average of $70 million total in revenue from the statewide surcharge fees.2  The legislation explicitly excludes recycled, source-separated materials and materials processed at compost facilities from being subject to the surcharge fees. 

 

Fees on Construction and Demolition Debris

Ohio also collects a $1.60-per-ton surcharge fee on disposal of construction and demolition debris at licensed facilities (coded in Section 3714.073 of the Ohio Code). This surcharge generated $8.4 million in revenue in 2021. $0.25 of the $1.60-per-ton surcharge is applied to the soil and water conservation district assistance fund, $0.75 is applied to the recycling and litter prevention fund. The remaining $0.60 is retained by the licensing authority which is either Ohio EPA or the local health department. These fees have not changed since 2012.

 

Solid Waste Management District Fees

All 52 of Ohio’s Solid Waste Management Districts (SWMD) can levy waste disposal, planning, and generation per-ton fees. The SWMD disposal fees (Section 3734.57 Paragraph B of Ohio Code) are collected at municipal solid waste landfills, according to statewide price ceilings and floors that correspond with the origin of the waste, as follows:

  • Tier 1 surcharge ($1-2 per ton) is levied on waste originating within the SWMD
  • Tier 2 surcharge ($2-4 per ton) is levied on waste originating outside the SWMD, but within Ohio
  • Tier 3 surcharge (equals the Tier 1 surcharge) is levied on waste originating outside of Ohio

SWMD waste generation fees are levied on waste generated by a SWMD and disposed of at any Ohio landfill or transfer facility. SWMD generation fees vary, with no restriction, between districts. Revenue from these SWMD fees must be kept in a separate and distinct county fund, to be used only for the 10 purposes listed in the law (Section 3734.57 Paragraph G,) ranging from preparation and implementation of a solid waste plan, to compensation for social costs of landfill hosting, to anti-littering enforcement. The SWMD fees are amendable by adoption of a resolution or by amendment or adoption of a new solid waste management plan.

 

Host Community Fee

A $0.25-per-ton host community fee (Section 3734.57 Paragraph C of Ohio Code) is levied by the political jurisdiction that hosts a landfill. The revenue collected is used as compensation to the jurisdiction for the costs associated with hosting a landfill, including road maintenance, emergency services, and property tax losses. 

 

Recycling and Litter Prevention Fund

The Recycling and Litter Prevention Fund was created in 2012 by Ohio HB 487 (now codified in Section 3736.03 of Ohio code). It is a separate fund within the state treasury funded by $0.75-per-ton of the fee assessed on disposal of construction and demolition debris, as well as gifts, donations, grants, reimbursements, and other sources, including investment earnings. This fund is used for activities of the materials management advisory council, statewide source reduction, recycling, recycling market development and litter prevention programs (including Ohio EPA grants), and for the “Central Support Indirect Fund” which covers administrative costs for the Ohio EPA.

 

Ohio EPA Grant Programs

Ohio has administered a Recycling and Litter Prevention Grant Program since 1980. The grant program provides opportunities for local governments, schools, businesses and nonprofit organizations to establish and implement recycling & litter prevention programs, recycling market development, expansion of recycling equipment and processing facilities, and recycling infrastructure improvements. 

The program is funded by a portion of the Construction and Demolition debris disposal surcharge as well as a portion of a $1.00-per-tire fee on the sale of new tires (Ohio Code Section 3734.901). This program generally offers $4 million annually in grant funding, between four types of annual grants, including Community Litter, Academic Institution, Scrap Tire, and Market Development grants. In 2021, an additional $2 million allocated to the program allowed a total of $6.1 million in grant funding to support 103 recycling and litter prevention projects.3 

 

Community and Litter Grant

The Community and Litter competitive annual grant program allows local government entities and nonprofits to receive funding for equipment needed for collection and processing of recyclables (including organics) and construction and demolition debris, as well as for implementation of litter collection events, outreach, and education. The maximum grant amount is $200,000 and requires a 25 percent match. In 2021, $3.4 million was awarded to 77 projects ranging from organics composting, to public space litter cleanups, to recycling equipment like organic material chippers.

 

Market Development Grant

The Market Development Grant is an annual competitive grant program open to businesses that are creating or expanding recycling processing capacity and recycled material production. In order to ensure legitimacy and follow-through, businesses are required to partner with a government agency sponsor for this grant, which may award a maximum of $200,000 per grant request and requires a 100 percent match. In 2021, 12 recycling market development projects were awarded a total of $1.8 million from this program, with projects including small scale organics recycling, plastic recycling for use in poly lumber, and paper fiber recycling.

 

Academic Institution Grant

Academic institutions in Ohio may receive funding for recycling efforts as well as outreach and education, recycling equipment, and conference sponsorships via the Academic Institution competitive annual grant program. This program requires a 25% match of grant funds by the institution for most projects. In 2021, nine institutions received a total of $458,000 in grant funding to pursue recycling projects, for example, the Ohio State University purchased equipment for expansion of their recycling and organics recycling program.

 

Soil and Water Conservation District Assistance Fund

The Soil and Water Conservation District Assistance Fund was established in 2011 to award operational grants to Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) (Ohio code Section 940.15). This Fund and its grant programs, administered by Ohio’s Department of Agriculture, support Ohio SWCDs by matching their local appropriations (not to exceed a 1:1 match).4  The Division of Soil and Water Conservation oversees the activities include education, outreach, technical assistance and development, and administration, as well as grants for watershed protection and farmland conservation. The Fund receives $8 to $9 million on an annual basis, which is comprised of revenues from the following sources:

  • $0.50 of the $1.00-per-tire scrap tire fee (Ohio Code Section 3734.901)
  • $0.25 per ton of the $4.75-per-ton fee on MSW disposal
  • $0.25 per ton of the $1.60-per-ton fee on C&D debris disposal  

 

More Information

 

1 Personal Communication. Ernest Stall. Environmental Specialist 3. Ohio EPA, Division of Materials and Waste Management. Video Call. December 11, 2021.
2 Personal Communication. Ernest Stall. Environmental Specialist 3. Ohio EPA, Division of Materials and Waste Management. Email. January 5, 2022.
3 Personal communication. Gretchen Craycraft. Government Affairs Deputy Director. Ohio EPA. Email. September 29, 2021. 
4 Personal communication. Jessica Langdon. Legislative Liaison and Community Outreach Coordinator. Ohio EPA. Email. January 6, 2022. 

 

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Original post from February 14, 2022

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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.