Lexi Kay Herndon is the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator at the Environmental Finance Center at UNC Chapel Hill.

Trash. Most of us don’t really think about it – you throw it in the bin, a truck comes by to pick it up, and it’s gone. Though your garbage may not take up much of your brain space, it sure does take up a lot of physical space (and not surprisingly, it also happens to take a lot of money to manage).

Solid waste management is one of the biggest environmental concerns with which local governments have to contend – and the challenges are only growing. Local governments not only have to deal with a huge volume of trash, but they also have to balance management costs, efficiency, customer service, protection of public health, environmental regulations, politics, and growing pressure to reduce waste and increase recycling.

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