The Burlington, Iowa, City Council recently shot down a proposed ordinance that would have prevented commercial garbage haulers from disposing of city-generated waste in outside landfills. According to the proposed ordinance, all solid waste originating within the city should be disposed of only at the Des Moines County Regional Solid Waste Commission landfill. The council’s decision comes after two Iowa residents presented the group with a 1994 U.S. Supreme Court case which states that it is unlawful for a city to tell commercial garbage haulers where to dispose of trash.
The ordinance originated in an attempt to include commercial garbage haulers within state law. Currently, municipal landfills are required by state law only to accept trash generated within the city. However, the law does not refer to commercial haulers.