Trucks at a landfill site from above.

Despite last year’s drop in landfill tip fees, the five-year average is still trending upward. | Janossy Gergely/Shutterstock

Average landfill tip fees across the country dropped in 2020, although the eastern U.S. continued to see rising disposal costs.

The average landfill tip fee in 2020 was $53.72 per ton, down 3.0% from the year prior, according to a report from the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF). To produce the 2020 report, EREF surveyed 439 landfills.

Price decreases weren’t uniform across the nation, however.

Tip fees averaged $72.03 in the Pacific region, representing a drop of 1.4% from 2019 (the region includes the West Coast as well as Alaska and Hawaii). The average fee was $68.69 in the Northeast (up 3%), $47.83 in the Mountains/Plains region (down 5.7%), $47.85 in the Midwest (down 2.1%), $46.26 in the Southeast (up 2.2%) and $39.66 in the South Central region (down 3.1%).

Despite last year’s drop, the five-year average is still trending upward. Between 2016 and 2020, the fee increased by an average of 2.8% each year, according to EREF.

In the 2020 report, recognizing that different states landfill drastically different amounts of waste, EREF also crunched the numbers to produce a ton-weighted average. Using that methodology, EREF estimated the national tip fee was $53.85 last year, up 3.4% from 2019.

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