Like prisoners, trash shipments can be big business for states willing to accept them. Kentucky, for example, has room for 212 million tons of waste. At the going rate of $29 per ton, that's a $6 billion economic opportunity. Ohio has $21 billion of available landfill space. Because of political opposition to local landfills, most Northeastern states' trash will probably be riding the rails for a long time to come.
The Lantern thanks Nora Goldstein and Dan Sullivan of BioCycle, Scott Kaufman of Columbia University, and Chaz Miller of the National Solid Wastes Management Association.