Environmental Spending and Cleanup

Massachusetts has been known as an environmentally friendly state–often at the expense of the business community. But how much does the Commonwealth actually spend on environmental programs compared to the rest of the country? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state and its cities and towns together spent about $270 per capita on environmental programs in fiscal year 1995. That’s higher than the national average of $227 per capita, but 13 states, including Rhode Island, spent even more. Massachusetts ranks 13th nationally in the amount of municipal solid waste it recycles – 34 percent in 1997. However, the Commonwealth sends a smaller proportion of its trash to landfills–21 percent–than other states, with the exceptions of Maine (18 percent) and Connecticut (12 percent). So what happens to the rest of the state’s garbage? It’s burned. New England leads the country in use of waste incinerators. Massachusetts has the nation’s second-highest incineration rate–45 percent. Connecticut is the national leader, at 64 percent, while Maine comes in third, at 40 percent.

Environmental Spending, State and Local FY 1995
Rank State Total Per Capita
1. Alaska $664
2. Washington $375
3. Hawaii $373
4. Delaware $356
4. Wyoming $356
6. New Jersey $338
7. California $327
8. Florida $318
9. Rhode Island $295
10. Wisconsin $286
11. Idaho $283
12. Minnesota $280
13. Oregon $272
14. Massachusetts $270
15. North Dakota $269
16. Montana $266
17. Maryland $264
18. Connecticut $253
19. Maine $251
19. New York $251
21. Michigan $236
22. Iowa $233
23. South Dakota $225
24. New Mexico $224
25. Virginia $215
26. Arizona $212
27. Louisiana $206
28. Vermont $200
29. Nebraska $195
30. Nevada $194
30. North Carolina $194
32. Utah $193
33. Ohio $187
34. Pennsylvania $182
35. Tennessee $177
36. Colorado $175
37. Kentucky $174
38. West Virginia $172
39. Georgia $168
39. Kansas $168
41. New Hampshire $162
42. Texas $161
43. Arkansas $159
44. Illinois $158
45. Alabama $152
46. Oklahoma $150
47. South Carolina $148
48. Mississippi $146
49. Missouri $141
50. Indiana $136
U.S. average $227

 

Waste management, 1998*
Rank State Recycled Incinerated Landfilled Recycling Goal Deadline
1. Minnesota 45% 28% 27% 50% 1996
2. New Jersey 43% 20% 37% 65% 2000
2. New York 43% 11% 46% 50% 1997
4. Maine 42% 40% 18% 50% 1998
4. South Carolina 42% 2% 56% 30% 1997
4. South Dakota 42% 0% 58% 50% 2001
7. Virginia 40% 18% 42% 25% 1997
8. Florida 39% 16% 45% 30% 1994
9. Arkansas 36% 67% 40% 2000
9. Wisconsin 36% 3% 61% n/a n/a
11. Tennessee 35% 10% 55% 25% 1995
11. Texas 35% 65% 40% 1994
13. Iowa 34% 66% 50% 2000
13. Massachusetts 34% 45% 21% 46% 2000
15. California 33% 0% 67% 50% 2000
15. Georgia 33% 1% 66% 25% 1996
15. Washington 33% 8% 59% 50% 2000
18. Kentucky 32% 0% 68% 25% 1997
18. North Carolina 32% 1% 67% 40% 2001
20. Maryland 30% 25% 47% 20% 1994
20. Missouri 30% 70% 40% 1998
20. Oregon 30% 11% 59% 50% 2000
20. Vermont 30% 7% 63% 40% 2000
24. Nebraska 29% 0% 71% 40% 1999
25. Illinois 28% 1% 71% 25% 2001
26. Rhode Island 27% 0% 73% 70% n/a
27. New Hampshire 26% 20% 54% 40% 2000
27. North Dakota 26% 0% 74% 40% 2000
27. Pennsylvania 26% 22% 52% 35% 2003
30. Michigan 25% 5% 70% 50% 2005
31. Connecticut 24% 64% 12% 40% 2000
31. Hawaii 24% 30% 46% 50% 2000
33. Alabama 23% 5% 72% 25% n/a
33. Indiana 23% 10% 67% 50% 2000
35. Delaware 22% 30% 48% 25% 2000
35. Utah 22% 3% 75% n/a n/a
37. West Virginia 20% 0% 80% 50% 2010
38. Louisiana 19% 0% 81% 25% 1992
39. Colorado 18% 82% n/a n/a
40. Arizona 17% 0% 83% n/a n/a
40. Ohio 17% 0% 83% 25% 2000
42. Mississippi 14% 5% 81% 25% 1996
42. Nevada 14% 0% 86% 25% 1995
44. Kansas 13% 87% n/a n/a
45. Oklahoma 12% 10% 78% n/a n/a
46. New Mexico 10% 0% 90% 50% 2000
47. Alaska 7% 15% 78% n/a n/a
48. Montana 5% 2% 93% 25% 1996
48. Wyoming 5% 0% 95% n/a n/a
48. Idaho n/a n/a n/a 25% 1995
U.S. average 27% 10% 64% 39% n/a