Landfills are expected to play an important role in solid waste management for many years to come. Properly engineered and managed, they need pose no threat to the environment. They are not always welcomed, but neither are incinerators, recycling centers, or compost stations.

While the decision to site a landfill is certainly an economic decision, it is also a political decision. Given the obvious political aspect of the landfill siting decision, elected officials must develop programs which assure communities that landfills are not a threat to the local environment, and communities must decide, in light of all the evidence, whether to accept or reject them. Moreover, if a landfill is to be sited, communities must be assured that some portion of the fees collected will be returned to the community. Indeed, if the landfill is privately owned and operated, the community will acquire job-creating and property tax-paying business. That fact should always be part of everything which is "put on the table" when the decision to allow or disallow a landfill is reached.

Recycling programs aimed at avoiding landfill tipping fees may save money and they may not save money. It depends on many factors, all of which should be studied carefully before any decision is made to incur the costs of a recycling program. If a community knows all the possible costs, and still wants a recycling program rather than a landfill, that is their right. But all the cards should be on the table before that decision is made.

Modern landfills are expensive. But, unlike the Northeast quadrant of the U.S., Michigan land costs are not such in most parts of the state to result in landfill tipping fees anywhere near what citizens in, say, New York City, pay. [130] Therefore Michigan officials would do well to avoid measures which could virtually close the landfill options part of a sound waste management program.