WASHINGTON — It’s a problem that has plagued waste management in the United States for years, as people and companies have sought to improve efficiency and reduce environmental pollution.
But the environmental costs are mounting.
Waste management costs are soaring, and the waste is becoming more valuable, the waste industry says.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that waste is now the second-largest environmental liability for the federal government.
The cost of environmental cleanup for a gallon of diesel fuel in the U.K. is more than $6.75.
In Mexico, it’s over $10.
Costs are growing faster in the developing world, where the average price of a gallon is around $4.
The environmental costs for a liter of plastic waste in South Africa is over $5.
The price of the world’s most valuable metals is now almost as much as the cost of a U.N. report on the global waste crisis, released last month.
The United States and other industrialized nations have already begun to take action to reduce the environmental damage.
In 2014, the federal Environmental Protection Agency launched the Waste Reduction Initiative, which aims to reduce environmental waste by improving recycling and disposal.
But environmental groups say that is too little, too late.
“The waste industry has a long way to go,” said James Hoch, executive director of the Sierra Club.
“There’s just not enough of a response to the problem.
That needs to change.”
While the federal waste program has been expanded, its scope and effectiveness is largely limited by state regulations.
That’s not going to change in the foreseeable future, said Mark Shackelford, senior policy adviser at the environmental group Friends of the Earth.
“There are a number of environmental laws in this country that are going to limit the federal program to only states,” he said.
“But there’s no doubt that the states will be a significant part of the solution.”
State laws can limit waste collection and disposal in some places, but that’s not the case everywhere.
In Texas, for example, there are no regulations limiting waste disposal in a landfill.
The state does allow recycling and composting in certain situations, but most waste is disposed of in a single-level landfill.
In Wisconsin, there’s a state law that allows waste disposal for up to 10 years in a municipal landfill, and no restrictions.
“It’s not a federal law,” said Matt Bowers, an attorney for the Wisconsin Environmental Council.
“It’s the state of Wisconsin.
It’s in their jurisdiction.”
The environmental groups point to other states where recycling and other waste disposal rules are stricter than the federal laws.
In New Mexico, for instance, waste is not allowed to be thrown in a garbage can, nor is it allowed to go into the landfill.
The state also has a requirement that waste be transported to a landfill for recycling, which can take years.
In Texas, waste can only be dumped in a designated dump site for recycling or composting, which is only allowed after a specific time limit.
“A lot of the states that we have talked to, there is some regulation, but it’s not really enforced,” Bowers said.
Bowers said some of the waste that ends up in the landfill is not only toxic, but also costly.
“If you are in a high-income city, and you have a very high carbon footprint, that can cost you millions of dollars,” he added.