"... a remarkable productivity story playing out in the trash business...the widely believed shortage [of dump space] that had drawn headlines in the 1980's... [has become] ...a glut of disposal space..." ... "the waste industry is in the early stages of the kind of increase in efficiency more typically seen in technologies like computer chips and turbines that generate electricity."... The change is shown in the published disposal records of the three largest waste haulers - Waste Management, Allied Waste Industries and Republic Services - which combined handle more than half the nation's trash. In the last four years, they buried 882 million tons of waste. But the remaining permitted capacity of their combined 410 dumps did not shrink. It expanded over those four years by more than one billion tons. The three companies now expect expansions of another 1.8 billion tons. At that level, their combined capacity could handle the nation's trash sent to dumps for about 26 years. "... "The nation's 25 biggest dumps, which are beginning to resemble operations in other more efficient and consolidated industries, account for about 24 percent of total capacity, Solid Waste Digest estimates, and that concentration will probably continue. Already, the Republic Services landfill in Las Vegas has more than 200 million tons of space, as does Waste Management's site in Arlington, Ore. And a desert site yet to begin accepting trash, owned by the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, can hold more than 600 million tons, or enough to take 20,000 tons a day for 100 years."
These efficiencies were the result of companies creatively dealing with environmentally sound rules which were introduced in the late 1970's and which have gradually been put into effect. These rules encouraged both protecting the ground-water and largeness. This proves that SOME moderate regulation of marketplaces can be a good thing - when the goals are realistic and the reg's let the marketplace decide how to achieve results - AND when the economic force of "creative-destruction" is allowed to happen; (in this case, many small dumps and small dump companies were allowed to go out of business -something that occurs in many markets, but which has been prevented -- by government intervention -- in others - notably the airlines industry. More on that HERE.)