AVERAGE COST OF WASTE COLLECTION IN THE U.S.
Article published on 08/12/2014

Do you know how much your business would spend on waste removal if you were in Tennessee? One would assume that prices of waste collection will be the same wherever you are in the country.  However, you may be shocked to find out that the cost of waste removal varies by state, county, and even city. And contrary to popular belief, the difference is not always marginal.

The team at Grid Waste conducted research on the varying prices of waste removal nationwide. We collected the average prices of solid waste removal for several cities of a similar population size of 50-60,000 people. The prices collected were for 6-yard dumpster (5’x6’x6’). Here are some of the figures we have accumulated through our study:

Annual Base Price:

  • Parsippany, New Jersey  - $3,468
  • Peabody, Massachusetts- $2,208
  • Burlington, North Carolina - $1,776
  • Ocala, Florida - $1,740
  • Pflugerville, Texas - $1,656
  • Rock Hill, South Carolina - $1,620
  • Smyrna, Georgia - $1,440
  • Bowie, Maryland - $1,368
  • Harrisonburg, Virginia - $1,212
  • Wheaton, Illinois - $1,212
  • Hendersonville, Tennessee - $1,056
  • Royal Oaks, Michigan - $900

As the data shows, the prices for waste collection varies significantly by region. According to our study, even adjoining states can have different price points. Sometimes even cities in the same state can have different average prices. Out of all the prices we’ve accumulated, Parsippany, NJ has the highest average cost of waste collection, rounding up to approximately $3,468 per year. Royal Oaks, MI has the lowest average annual cost of $900. The difference in the cost of waste removal is a staggering $2,568 every year, a 385% increase in prices in Parsippany compared to Royal Oaks. Let’s review the characteristics of each city to get a better understanding the locations.

Parsippany, NJ has a population of 53,868. The population count in Royal Oaks, MI is not much different at 58,410 people. The city of Parsippany is approximately 25 square miles big while Royal Oaks is much smaller at 11 square miles, making the latter a denser location in terms of population. Parsippany and Royal Oaks have an average income of $68,047 and $76,689, respectively. So what can we deduce from the information collected? Both cities are of a similar population size and are predominantly upper middle class communities. The only statistical differences that can be seen on the surface is the population density of the two locations. So what could be the cause of the price disparity of waste collection in the two cities?

 

THE CAUSES 

Like many other services rendered, waste removal prices can vary significantly based on where you live. Many different factors can contribute to the price fluctuation. Here are the top five reasons for the price difference:

Cost of Fuel

Ever taken a road trip outside state lines or even outside city limits? If you have, you may be aware of the price changes from one location to the next. The next town over may have fuel prices that are several cents cheaper, and perhaps a couple states down, fuel prices may even be a couple dollars cheaper. The price of fuel plays a big role in the cost of waste collection. The more expensive it is in particular area, the more it will cost the haulers to have trucks servicing this location. So if fuel is more expensive in New York City than in Washington, DC, don’t be surprised to see a higher waste collection bill in the former!

Location

Where is your town located? Is it in the middle of nowhere, where the next town in several miles away? The geographic location of your city can play a big part in the average cost of waste collection for your area. It will cost more for haulers to service areas that are remote. Towns that are remote means less resources available in the vicinity for the haulers.

Population Density

Price of waste collection can vary by the type of community you live in. Waste collection in heavily congested areas can mean more business for haulers, but it also means limited accessibility for haulers and more time spent stuck in traffic. On the opposite end of the spectrum, cities with individual sites that are located far apart from one another can also be more costly to service, as haulers are spending more time on the road driving from one location to the next.

Landfills

After haulers pick up everyone’s trash, they transport the waste to a landfill. Hence, landfills can have a significant impact on the price of waste removal. The prices landfills charge can vary by region. The prices they charge can vary due to the price of land, government fees and taxes, and other factors that are region specific. The more haulers have to pay to dump the waste into a landfill, the more they will end up charging you to subsidize the costs. Not to mention, if the closest landfill is relatively far from the location the hauler is servicing, the prices may rise due to transportation costs. Some haulers may even have to export their waste across state lines, which may significantly increase the cost of waste collection for you.

Competition

Like all types of market, the waste industry is not immune to monopolization. Although it would be ideal to have several haulers servicing a specific location, it is not always the case. The less competition haulers have in an area, the less inclined they are to offer competitive prices for its customers. If a single hauler monopolizes a certain area, those living in the vicinity will most likely incur higher, inflated prices.

 

Next time you are traveling or moving out of state, ask the locals about the average cost of waste collection for their area and expect to get different figures at different locations! And if you want more data like this, participate in our Waste Data Project to see how your waste collection process differs from those around the nation. 

 

Source: Waste Data Project, EPA, Waste360, HomeAdvisor

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