To Understand
the Real Cost of Trash

We first need to know that “all trash is local,” meaning that the type of trash service can vary from city to city. We also need to account for all the pieces that support this necessary public service. That includes containers, collection vehicles, transfer stations, processing facilities, landfills and the equipment to operate each. These all cost money to buy, operate and maintain, whether privately or publicly owned.

Generally, the cost of trash service has two distinct parts: collection and disposal. Local and national studies show that about 2/3 of the cost comes from the collection and transportation of waste, which includes things like the cost of trucks, maintenance, fuel, labor, insurance and so on. The other 1/3 is for disposal – the “tipping fees” that haulers pay to deposit waste at a transfer station, processing facility or landfill.

Some key things to note:

  • All money to pay for trash collection and disposal starts with waste generators: the residents, institutions and businesses that pay to have waste managed.

  • In general, the East Metro is a user-fee based system, with generators paying haulers for the services provided, and paying state taxes and county charges on that service.

  • Some residents pay their city for trash collection, and the city contracts with a hauler or haulers to provide the service.

  • In January 2018, all trash generated in Ramsey and Washington counties is, by law, required to be delivered to the Recycling & Energy Center (R&E Center) for handling waste.

  • Haulers pay a per-ton fee for disposal of waste at a transfer station, processing facility or landfill. For waste delivered to the R&E Center in Newport (or to one of the approved transfer stations serving the facility), the tipping fee that haulers pay is set by the Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Board to cover the cost of handling that trash.

Frequently asked questions.