Interstate Transportation of Solid Wastes
The term "interstate" refers to restrictions on the movement of waste materials across state lines. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the "dormant" Commerce Clause prohibits states or local governments from banning or placing special burdens on out-of-state waste. The National Waste & Recycling Association is frequently a party to such cases or files amicus briefs in support of its members. Under the Commerce Clause, legislation that has discriminatory intent or discriminates on its face or in its practical effect will be found unconstituional.
Solid waste is exported from or imported into every state except Hawaii, with most states both importing and exporting trash for disposal. These shipments are a normal part of interstate commerce and are protected by the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
Interstate Shipment of Municipal Solid Waste: 2004 Update is the most recent publication by the Congressional Research Service. CRS data covers calendar year 2003 or the most recent previous data from the 50 states. According to the CRS survey, approximately 35 million tons, or about 9 percent of the garbage generated in the United States, was transported across state lines for disposal in landfills or incinerators.
Our report "Interstate Movement of Solid Waste: 2005" provides additional data and information on this issue.
The Association's testimony before the U.S. House or Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee (Aug, 2001) provides additional information.
Our testimony at a Michigan legislative hearing also provides a good understanding of the protections given by international law to the movement of American and Canadian solid and hazardous waste across international borders.
The National Waste & Recycling Association's legal section provides a wealth of information on legal cases in this area.