South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Intrastate Bans on Garbage Movement Violates Commerce Clause

The Georgia high court held that it violated the Commerce Clause for a county in Georgia to refuse all trash not generated within the county to be transported across or disposed of within the county.

Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words

Interstate Commerce; Garbage

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

The City of Atlanta contracted with Advanced Disposal Services and Republic Services of Georgia to collect, transport, and dispose of the city’s garbage. The waste is collected in town, taken to transfer stations, and then transported to landfills in counties outside of the city. A state statute gave counties in George the power to veto the importation of solid waste. Fulton County vetoed the moving of Atlanta trash across the county. The city sued. The trial court held for the city. The county appealed.


Affirmed. The Supreme Court specifically struck down a Michigan statute that prohibited a private landfill from receiving waste that came from outside the county. Such restrictions discriminate against interstate commerce and violate the Commerce Clause. Even though the movement is within a single state, the same rule applied. A county may not isolate itself from the national economy.


Fulton County v. City of Atlanta, 629 S.E.2d 196 (Sup. Ct., Ga., 2006)

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