1/4th of Virginia’s trash comes from its neighbors

A new report says a quarter of all of the waste that winds up in Virginia comes from outside the commonwealth.

So where, exactly, does it come from?

Neighboring Maryland, D.C. and North Carolina — along with New York and New Jersey — are the biggest sources of waste from outside the state.

That’s according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s latest annual report on solid waste management.

According to the DEQ, those outside jurisdictions account for 97% of all out-of-state waste. Maryland is the largest contributor of out-of-state waste — at nearly 2.5 million tons. That accounts for more than 42% of Virginia’s out-of-state waste and more than 10% of all the waste collected in Virginia last year.

Virginia received about 51,350 tons from D.C. That’s more than 15% of Virginia’s out-of-state waste.

Nearly 22.5 million tons of waste overall were collected by Virginia in 2020, a small decrease of approximately 24,800 tons from the amount reported in 2019, according to the report.

The amount of waste from outside Virginia decreased as well, by 1.9% or 108,000 tons.

The report showed about 72% of all trash went to landfills. Another 12% was incinerated and most of the rest was either recycled, mulched or composted.

The DEQ said its annual recycling report for 2020 will be issued later this year.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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