When it comes to garbage, geography is destiny.

Look at Texas and Florida, recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Homeowners and businesses not incapacitated by the storm have begun the arduous and emotional work of separating destroyed possessions and materials by type and placing them curbside. Cities have begun the intimidating logistics of picking it up and transporting it to its final destination. 

And what is that destination? Texas’s waste-disposal strategy takes advantage of the state’s vast land. Harris County alone, which includes Houston, has 14 active landfills.

Florida, by contrast, is a peninsula with a longer coastline than any state other than Alaska, and much less room for trash. Many coastal Florida counties burn theirs, with waste incinerators particularly common around

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