Nationally, Waste Management Inc. has seen a 14 percent drop in the volume of trash brought to the company’s network of 273 landfills.
But at the Graham Road landfill near Medical Lake, volumes are only down 1 percent, said Ken Gimpel, Waste Management’s municipal relations manager.
The landfill accepts demolition and construction waste from the region. Gimpel compared trash volumes over the past 14 months to the comparable prior-year period to calculate the slight decline.
If trash volumes are an economic indicator, that’s probably good news for the greater Spokane region, Gimpel said.
“Garbage is really seasonal,” he added. “As construction gets under way, we expect the volumes to pick up.”
At the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System, trash volumes have dropped a modest 2 percent over the past year.
In Kootenai County, however, the drop is more pronounced. In April, the volume of trash accepted at the two transfer stations was down 26 percent from April 2008, said Steve Wulf, the solid waste department’s principal planner.
“I think the downturn in the economy is the main contributing factor,” Wulf said.
Commercial and residential construction has cooled off in Kootenai County, he noted, and families are buying less.