Landfill tip fees were relatively flat in 2021, according to newly released data. | Kawin168/Shutterstock

Last year, price tags for a range of new things jumped sharply from the year before, but the cost to landfill those things was pretty much flat.

An annual survey from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF) found that even while inflation raged at roughly 7% in the U.S. in 2021, average landfill tips fees were either up slightly or down slightly, depending on the methodology used to calculate them.

EREF’s nationwide survey of 378 landfills found the unweighted average landfill tip fee increased from $53.72 in 2020 to $54.03 in 2021, up about 0.6%.

On a ton-weighted-average basis, which takes into account different amounts of MSW disposed at landfills of varying sizes, the rate decreased from $54.70 in 2020 to $54.17 in 2021, down 1%.

Landfill tip fees are important to recycling programs because higher fees can improve the economics of recycling as an alternative disposition channel. A number of states also use fees assessed on landfilled tons to help fund recycling programs.

The 2020 unweighted tip fee average was down sharply from 2019, previous EREF research showed. Last year, EREF began calculating the ton-weighted averages. Using that methodology, EREF found the 2020 average was up quite a bit from the year before.

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