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TheStreet Open House

Landfills Hurting As Consumers Repair, Reuse

JAMES HANNAH

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) ¿ Thrift-driven Americans are fixing up, making do and reusing so much to cope with the recession that the drop in throwaways means less fill for landfills.

To deal with the drop-off in dropoffs, landfills are laying off workers, reducing hours of operation and hiking disposal fees, with the increases passed along to cities, businesses and consumers.

"You can look at waste and see what the economy is doing," said Tom Houck, manager at the Defiance County Landfill in northwest Ohio. He's watched the amount of trash arriving at the landfill plunge 30 percent in the past year.

With consumers cutting back on new purchases, there is less packaging to throw away. The downturn in new housing means less waste from construction materials such as insulation and from discarded drywall and lumber. Restaurant waste is down because people are eating out less.

"We're seeing this all over the country," said Bruce Parker, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes Management Association.

Environmentalists applaud the trash slash.

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