This indicator tracks the efficiency of Washington's economy relative to waste generation, by comparing the pounds of solid waste generated to the state's gross domestic product (GDP). Comparing solid waste generated to GDP gives us a measure of "eco-efficiency" by showing how much waste we produce relative to the amount of economic activity.
A state's GDP is a common way of measuring the size of the economy. The GDP includes the total market value of all goods and services produced within the state in a year. The state plan seeks to decrease waste generation while maintaining or increasing economic output. This indicator measures our progress in maintaining or increasing economic output as waste generation is reduced.
Solid waste includes discards (garbage and recycling) from homes and businesses, manufacturing, construction, and other sources. Solid wastes are landfilled, incinerated, or diverted to other uses such as recycling.
Over the time we have been tracking the amount of solid waste generated per GDP, the trend has stayed fairly constant, vacillating between 0.9 and 0.12. The overall slight upward trend implies our overall "eco-efficiency" has decreased (more waste produced per dollar spent).
The bottom graph breaks out the two inputs to this indicator and shows that both solid waste generation and GDP have been trending upward, with waste increasing at a slightly faster rate than the GDP.
This indicator has approximately a 1.5-year time lag due to the process of gathering, compiling, and analyzing data and distributing information to stakeholders.
Why should we be concerned about the connection between solid waste and GDP?
This indicator shows the link between economic vitality and waste prevention, reduction, reuse, and related activities. To have a healthy economy and environment, we need to disconnect the link between waste generation and GDP. An increasing amount of solid waste generated per dollar of GDP represents wasted energy and resources.
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