Managing America’s landfills is a dirty job, but for $13 billion a year somebody will gladly do it. That “somebody” is Waste Management Inc., the largest garbage collection company in the United States. Like any publicly-traded corporation, Waste Management is compelled to seek profits, creating a conflict of interest in a society that desperately needs to cut back on trash.
In 2008, when the recession caused consumption to slow, the amount of rubbish at the curb fell for the first time on record. While most would consider this cause for celebration, Waste Management Inc. was not as thrilled, reports Jason Mark for Earth Island Journal (Autumn 2012). In 2010, the company increased campaign contributions and political lobbying in Florida and Georgia, two of three states that have lifted bans on yard waste in landfills since 2009.
Although a spokesman for Waste Management claims the move “is about enabling community choice,” critics see it as an unabashed attempt to increase demand for landfill space and the profits that follow. The company has been trying to brand itself as a friend of the earth with its slogan “Think Green,” but Mark Woodall of the Georgia Sierra Club told Mark, “The only green they have in mind is green money.”