WIUM Tristates Public Radio

More Waste Collection = Improving Economy

Macomb, IL – Waste Management reports the collection of municipal solid waste, or MSW, increased by 2.5 percent in 2009 compared with 2008 levels.

WM's Municipal Marketing Manager, Dave Schaab, says that's a good sign.

He says a trash collection report is one of the strongest economic indicators. When more waste is collected in an area, in this case western Illinois, that means more people are staying home. But at the same time, they're buying things close to home.

"If you're home more, and you're consuming more, you're generating more waste," says Schaab. "We're deferring a great amount of that, as much as we can, for recycling. But still, with people staying at home more, and the economics keeping us at home, [waste levels have] grown slightly."

Another measurement of waste collection is not so indicative of economic factors. Schaab says Waste Management also tracks "special" waste collection. Special waste is generated from things such as mandated state projects. If such a project gets underway, it will generate the same amount of waste regardless of the economy's strength.

Conversely, Schaab says the average consumer can easily cut back on purchases, and generate less waste, if the economy is bad -- thereby making MSW collections the good economic indicator they are. Waste collection levels were down in 2009 across much of the rest of the country.

This region's Waste Management Collection Center takes refuse from McDonough, Warren, Knox, Fulton, and parts of Mason counties.