Super Gift: Buy an Arizona Landfill

photo landfill sea gulls trash

Photo via D'Arcy Norman, Flickr

We all get our share of e-mail spam. One that keeps showing up in my InBox offers the opportunity of a lifetime: Buy an Arizona landfill. Fill it up. The more waste you bury, the more money you make. For the Un-TreeHugger who has everything? And just in time for the holidays!
This is the kind of spam that's unsolicited. The e-mail says I'm "a professional with a history of investing in the solid waste industry." Not really. Not at all. I've just written about landfills, and yes, I use them as a human that generates junk.

Recycling, composting and a green movement in the business world is reducing waste that ends up in landfills, according to federal statistics. But business is still booming for trash.

This "For Sale" landfill in Arizona "has been designed and is fully permitted to serve the greater metropolitan Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona markets," according to the e-mail, from WIH Resource Group Inc.

The dump, er shiny landfill, sits on an 850-acre parcel, 450 acres of which are zoned and approved for landfill development.

Ah, a business with room to grow. Based on estimated volumes, the landfill has a life of 50 years before it's finally filled with 65 million tons of solid waste, I've made more than $1.6 billion in revenue and there's a big mound to show for it, according to the e-mail.


WIH, for its part, is billed as a provider of "comprehensive waste management, recycling and business solutions." Maybe they should have mentioned using landfill methane to make electricity.

Either way, this solicitation should provide fodder to ponder as you start making out your holiday gift list (and wish list).

According to 2008 figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American generates about 4.5 pounds of trash per day, and composts or recycles about 33 percent, or 1.5 pounds, of it.

Since 1980, per-person daily solid waste generation has increased in the U.S., from about 3.7 pounds to the current 4.5 pounds. But the recycling rate also increased during that period from 10 percent to 33 percent.

We still have a long way to go. And we could make that Arizona landfill last even longer.

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