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The Garbage Business

OPB | Aug. 3, 2010 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:33 p.m.

Garbage has been in the news lately. On Thursday, a judge in Richland blocked large shipments of trash from Hawaii from going to a landfill in eastern Washington. This happened after the Yakama Nation filed a lawsuit claiming the garbage would bring with it significant environmental risks.

Just across the Columbia River, the Oregon town of Arlington has enjoyed a relatively low unemployment rate compared to the rest of the state, thanks in large part to the landfill that employs locals and supports businesses run by many of its 610 residents. And they’re not alone. Many rural economies are driven by the business of garbage.

While Arlington welcomed the jobs and revenue the garbage business brought with it in the late 1908s, some people object to living and working near landfills. Many Willamette Valley winemakers are unhappy about a recent proposal to increase the size of a landfill in Yamhill County.

Do you work for a waste management company? Do you know where your garbage goes? What role does trash play in your local economy?

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