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EREF Study Shows Average MSW Tip Fee Increase Slowed in 2021

Article-EREF Study Shows Average MSW Tip Fee Increase Slowed in 2021

Results from the 2021 EREF analysis of MSW landfill tip fees indicate a 0.6 percent increase in the unweighted national average to $54.03 per ton since 2020 and a decrease of 1.0 percent in the ton-weighted national average to $54.17.

In its mission to guide sustainable materials management through data-driven analysis, EREF recently completed its 6th annual MSW landfill tip fee report. Using its database of active Subtitle D municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLFs) in the U.S., the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) created a sample of facilities that was used for surveying landfills regarding tip fee information for MSW disposal. For the 2021 report, EREF conducted a methodology review and made several updates to the methodology which are described in the report.

The 2021 results indicate the national unweighted average tip fee of $54.03 per ton was 0.6 percent higher than the $53.72 per ton reported in 2020. The Pacific and the Northeast continue to have the highest fees per ton in the U.S., but the Pacific saw a decrease for the second year in a row of $7.04 per ton or 9.8 percent (see figure below).

The Northeast increased for the second year in a row with an increase of $0.95 per ton, or 1.4 percent. Fees in the Mountains/Plains, Southeast, and South-Central regions all decreased in 2021. The figure below indicates average weighted and unweighted tip fee by region.


To account for differences in the amount of MSW landfilled at each facility and in each region due to factors such as total waste generation, fraction recovered for recycling and/or composting, and interstate transport, EREF regularly calculates both unweighted and ton-weighted average tip fees (additional details on these methodologies can be found in the full report). In the 2021 report, the unweighted and ton-weighted national average tip fees from 2018 to 2021 were compared (see figure below). In 2018 and 2019 the unweighted average was lower than the ton-weighted average by 0.6 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively. The trend was reversed for 2020 and 2021 such that the ton-weighted average was greater than the unweighted average by 1.8 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Both calculations of the national average show that the year over year average of the national tip fee has increased.


EREF’s free report, “Analysis of MWS Landfill Tipping Fees: 2021” shares additional 2021 tipping fee data.

The list of landfills surveyed for the 2021 report are also available for purchase as a pdf or excel spreadsheet from EREF’s website.

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