What is a Tipping Fee?

May 30, 2016


A tipping fee or a gate fee is a fee paid by anyone who disposes of waste in a landfill. Usually this fee is based on the weight of waste per ton. This fee can be passed down to waste generator from landfill through fees or taxes. This fee serves in helping with the maintenance and other operating costs of a landfill. Tipping fees can vary depending on the space available in the landfill or if challenges from the community or regulations make it difficult to start a new landfill.

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Early landfills did not include a Tipping Fee, as they were mostly unused areas and in some cases were open pits where waste was dumped and buried; some examples of this practice included Sheol, located outside of Jerusalem and the Cretan capital, Knossos. Generally, these sites would have large fires to burn the waste so it could be used continuously.

The use of incineration as a way to dispose of garbage continued well into the nineteenth century where burning waste proved convenient in energy production when in 1874 the British introduced the first “destructor” incineration plant. Here trash was burned to power steam engines for the generation of electricity. Though lasting until the 1960s, combustion soon fell out of favour at the beginning of the 1900s with destructors being abandoned due to their emissions and being poorly built or run.

In 1937, the first sanitary landfill opened in Fresno, California. These landfills soon became the norm and moved away from burning and burying waste as a solution. During its early years, regulations for sanitary landfills were limited and only acted as guidelines, poor management and disposal to cause numerous issues on reclaimed land (see the Love Canal).

It wasn’t until 1965 when the United States Congress passed the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, and the advent of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 1976 where better rules were set up to ensure waste was disposed of in an appropriate manner. Tipping Fees help in making sure that landfills are able to keep up with state and federal regulations and are able to continue to meet the demand during its lifetime.


Other Sources

“For Education.” Began with the Bin. http://beginwiththebin.org/resources/for-education. Accessed May 3, 2016.

Waste Management, Inc. “Glossary.” Waste Management Inc. 2016. http://www.wm.com/glossary.jsp?b=R&e=U. Accessed May 9, 2016.

Wallace, Bob. “US Landfill Disposal the Big Picture – WIH Resource Group.” WIH Resource Group. January 13, 2010. https://wihresourcegroup.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/us-landfill-disposal-the-big-picture-wih-resource-group/. Accessed May 10, 2016.