WASHINGTON – Memo to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani: While Virginians fight to keep more of your city’s garbage out of their state, at least two Maryland dumps are happy to import trash.
And one of them, the Sandy Hill landfill in Prince George’s County, is even taking trash off of Virginia’s hands.
“Trash is a commodity where the boundaries are not state lines — they are economic decisions,” said Christine Meket, spokeswoman for Waste Management Inc., the country’s largest trash hauling company.
Waste Management hauls trash from the city of Manassas, Va., to the Sandy Hill landfill near Bowie. The Maryland Department of the Environment said that Sandy Hill accepted 10,000 tons of municipal solid waste — your trash-can-variety garbage — from Manassas in 1997.
The Mountainview landfill in Allegany County took in 50,000 tons of out-of-state trash in 1997, according to the Department of the Environment.
Meket said her company sends trash it collects to the dumping site that is cheapest for it to use.
Mountainview, a subsidiary of Waste Management, is the only private municipal solid waste trash site in the state. Allegany County Director of Public Works Steve Young said the county elected to privatize the landfill when it had to close an old, publicly owned site in the early 1990s.
“I’m very satisfied with our landfill,” Young said.
While Maryland has recently become a net exporter of trash, Young said importing trash is nothing new in Western Maryland, since the borders of Pennsylvania and West Virginia are so close.
“From where I’m sitting, I could throw a softball out of my window and hit West Virginia — and Pennsylvania is just six miles north,” Young said from his office Friday.
And Sam Wynkoop, director of the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources, said he has no complaints about the small amount of trash the county imports to Sandy Hill.
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Wynkoop said.