We make no commitment to revise or update any forward-looking statements and information in order to reflect events or circumstances that may change after today's date. Management uses certain non-GAAP measures to evaluate and monitor the ongoing financial performance of our operations. Other companies may calculate these non-GAAP measures differently. I will now turn the call back over to Worthing.
Pricing growth of 5. Pricing in Q4 range from about 3. Reported revenue growth in Q4 was negative -- volume growth in Q4 was negative 1. Volumes tend to swing period-to-period as evidenced by our expectation for positive volume growth in Q1 Looking further at We expect reported volumes to be about flat for the full year, again starting positive in Q1, with some variability by quarter. Roll-off revenue increased approximately 4.
In the U. On a combined basis, commodity-related revenues from recycled commodities and renewable energy credits, or RINs, from landfill gas sales were largely in line with Q3 as expected, with slightly weaker recycled commodity values offset by stronger RINs. First, recycling. We continue to believe that pricing stability and, ultimately, some amount of improvement are reasonable expectations as a result of higher demand for recycled feedstock by both Newton mills and domestic mills expected to convert to accepting recovered fiber.
We've also seen indications of higher international demand for OCC, which could also support higher domestic fiber pricing for us. Next, renewable energy credits, or RINs. It is too soon to note these levels will persist throughout the quarter and full year. So while we are encouraged by recent increases, we have not baked this into our outlook for the year or, for that matter, Q1.
As also noted throughout , we benefited for our asset positioning and diversity of basins as well as contribution from new or expanded facilities. Looking at acquisition activity. These acquisitions include [pen] waste in South Central Pennsylvania, which provides solid waste collection and state-of-the-art recycling services. In addition, we acquired a recycling facility in Illinois, which complements our existing operations and allows us to internalize additional recycled commodities in that market.
We also expanded our existing market positioning at Tennessee through the acquisition of collection and transfer assets, enabling us to internalize additional disposal volumes in that market. Three years ago, we had suggested that there may be a 4-year window of outsized acquisition activity.
Our experience over the past 3 years has been consistent within that expectations, as we have essentially completed 6 years' worth of transactions over that 3-year period. As we enter , we continue to believe that the factors that have been viewed favorably by sellers are still relevant. They continue to note the strength of their underlying businesses and the clarity resulting from tax reform under the current administration, with the potential for uncertainty being introduced as a result of any change to the status quo.
Given those concerns and the current amount of dialogue, we believe could be another year of outsized acquisition activity. As such, we remain well positioned for potential continued outsized capital deployment. Now I'd like to pass the call to Mary Anne to review more in-depth the financial highlights of the fourth quarter and provide a detailed outlook for Q1 and full year An estimated 50 basis-point increase in underlying solid waste collection, transfer and disposal margins and a 50 basis-point increase due to CNG credits were more than offset by an estimated basis point impact from lower recycled commodity values and RINs, as noted earlier, and an estimated 70 basis point impact from lower-margin acquisitions completed since the year-ago period.
Fuel expense in Q4 was about 3. Depreciation and amortization expense for the fourth quarter, as expected, was Interest expense. And our leverage ratio, as defined in our credit agreement, ended the year at approximately 2. Our effective tax rate for the fourth quarter was There was no impact to the rate from the proposed regulations previously expected to be finalized in as such regulations still have yet to be finalized.
Adjusted net income in Q4 primarily excludes the impact of intangibles amortization and other acquisition-related items and impairments. I will now review our outlook for the first quarter and full year Before I do, we'd like to remind everyone once again that actual results may vary significantly based on risks and uncertainties outlined in our safe harbor statement and filings we've made with the SEC and the Securities Commissions or similar regulatory authorities in Canada.
We encourage investors to review these factors carefully. Our outlook assumes no change in the current economic and operating environment, unless otherwise indicated. It also excludes any impact from additional acquisitions or divestitures that may close during the remainder of the year and expensing of transaction-related items during the period. Looking first at full year For solid waste, we expect pricing growth of approximately 5.
Positive solid waste volumes, any increases in values for recycled commodities or renewable energy credits since year-end or additional acquisitions closed during the year would provide upside to our initial outlook. Regarding tax rates. Our effective tax rate for is expected to be approximately Turning now to our outlook for Q1 We expect price growth for solid waste to be approximately 5.
One additional headwind specific to Q1 is the impact of 1 extra day in the quarter due to leap year, which is expected to result in a drag of about 50 basis points to reported margins. The drags on reported margins are expected to abate as the year progresses, as we anniversary the toughest comps for recycling and RINs in the first half of the year. And of course, leap year only impacts Q1. Depreciation and amortization expense for the first quarter is estimated to be about And finally, our effective tax rate in Q1 is estimated to be about Similar to Q1 , the effective rate for the period includes a slight benefit to the provision related to excess tax benefits associated with equity-based compensation.
Thank you, Mary Anne. Once again, we are extremely pleased with our results for , driving our 16th consecutive year of positive shareholder returns. We would like to recognize the tireless efforts of our more than 18, employees for our continuing success. Given the headwinds of and , we appreciate the greater visibility we have as we enter this new year, if you'll excuse the already overused pun, a vision.
That's Mary Anne's little pun. I'll give her credit for that one. That vision starts with our financial outlook. And again, positive solid waste volumes, any increases in values for recycled commodities or renewable energy credits since year-end or additional acquisitions closed during the year will provide upside to our initial outlook. Our vision is also focused on engagement with our employees, our customers and our communities.
Engagement means continued investment in training and development for our local leaders and frontline employees and building our technology offerings to increase connectivity both inside and outside the company. Engagement drives culture, increases retention and further improve safety. In addition, our vision is focused on sustainability. At Waste Connections, we recognize the importance to our stakeholders of our continuing efforts to minimize our impact on the environment but also to measure the positive impacts we have in the communities we serve, the development and welfare of our employees, the financial health of our company and the returns to our shareholders.
We hold ourselves accountable to deliver on these commitments. We appreciate your time today. I'll now turn the call over to the operator to open up the lines for your questions. Maguire, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. So let's see. I just wanted to get at the underlying margin improvement that's in the guidance because there's a lot of moving pieces.
And I think you gave a lot of detail there. But just trying to separate all of the noise. I think, Brian, you just identified the moving parts. Of course, there's a little drag from CNG because, of course, we've got 2 years' worth of credits in the end of '19, a little drag there, too. So yes, you're right. What the guide suggests is underlying margin expansion in solid waste similar to what we saw this year. And of course, our guidance, we'd like to leave ourselves some room to do better.
So just getting a sense of how conservative you think that is. And what factors drove your volumes to be better than the overall industry. I know you guys added some capacity earlier in the year, just maybe that's a factor. But just what would allow you to kind of outperform the overall market? But obviously, we've said throughout the year -- look the Permian is -- was down in year-over-year. But the diversity basins allowed us to benefit from increases in Louisiana onshore and offshore.
We opened the additional landfill up in the Wyoming, up in the Powder. We've talked about investments we were making also in the Permian during the year last year. Those will start to come online this year. We'll start to see some benefit from those modestly, but still coming off a 0 base from those assets last year that'll help us a little bit this year.
And so 1 month down, 11 months left to go. Our view is it has to come down. And so while we haven't seen anything that is worse than our expectations so far, obviously, we'd rather be cautious at this time of the year as we look out ahead. As you know, we've been expecting a weakening amount of activity for the past almost 12 or 14 months. And again, our hats off to our folks and their execution of our business plan there. So I appreciate the flat guidance.
But in , didn't you guys spend on a couple of new contracts that I thought would give you around a 50 basis-point tailwind in ? And if so, does that imply that you're guiding effectively to kind of down core volumes? One is, obviously, early in the year, you want to give yourself cushion to exceed, right? And we talked about the contracts last year. We said that was about a 50 basis-point benefit to volume for the year. Dave looked at total volumes last year. In , full year basis, we were down about 20 basis points, so we're essentially flat.
If that repeated this year and that 20 basis points gets improved by the 50 basis points of new contracts, that means we're up about 30 basis points in volume. So again, the number is starting to get pretty small here. Then, we'd rather leave that for upside versus doing an all-in guide at this point.
I think that is maybe a good way to put it. But in the same vein, so I'm a little surprised to see CapEx remain somewhat heightened in I thought you would have had, again, some reprieve from those contracts spending that presumably doesn't repeat. Core volumes aren't exactly doing a whole lot, at least under the current assumptions.
So any thoughts there on the Capex? And is that something that we might see step down in '21? So obviously, there is some cushion in that guide. I'd also tell you, as you look at 1 month playing out, the landfill volumes in January alone were up mid-single digits. So that persists, obviously, we're also assuming that there might be additional landfill CapEx above and beyond we currently anticipate.
And then on the landfill side, I may have missed it, but did you give MSW landfill pricing? As you know, we think about reporting pricing in the aggregate and, of course, talked about our 5. You've seen through the course of the year, I think we've talked before, in the 2.
I mean, last year, we saw escalating costs at certain sites for leachate handling. Obviously, CapEx at landfills, you're getting less for your dollar these days, right? And so landfill pricing overall will be moving higher. It's just -- it's a question of kind of what sites and what regions you see the most movement. That's helpful. And then maybe going back on the core margin improvement side. What are you guys seeing on the labor inflation side? Have you seen that begin to abate at all?
In Q4, that was really the first time that we saw a step-down. In the past few quarters, we've talked about the fact that same employee increases have been around 4. And this was first quarter, it was in the low 4s. So it dropped by about 50 basis points, which is encouraging and also makes sense because our feeling was that we had been through the worst of those market adjustments we had done really over the past 2 years, which drove outsized wage increases in those markets.
So we are beginning to see signs that our optimism about the abating of those cost pressures was well-placed. And then maybe my last one here, modeling question, Mary Anne. But any color on cash tax rate or as a percentage of the book? We talked about a Of course, what changes that is that to the extent we do continue to get deals done, and we get incremental benefits from acquisitions, you could see that come down.
Just quick question on landfill pricing. You'd already mentioned that you've seen pretty good increases so far last year. Just wondering how long you think that's sustainable for. And then maybe you can just comment or discuss what the catalyst has been. The sector has been pretty consolidated for a while and you've been relatively disciplined.
Just curious to know if there was any other catalyst in there that's causing these to rise longer term. Well, I think it's -- first, if you look back longer term, over the past 10 or 15 years for us, overall, as a company, we've averaged about CPI plus basis points kind of as a portfolio of market pricing.
That's been more elevated than that last couple of years. As you know, last couple of years, this industry's faced the impact from lower recycled commodity values and the need to push the cost of recycling to the generators. You've also seen some episodic spikes in certain cost items. Mary Anne already talked about labor. By the last couple of years, you've seen higher third-party logistics cost. The other one -- and those mostly have all abated. We've talked about those, getting good line of sight on those, and kind of the surprises stopped in Q2 or so of last year on those.
The ones that will persist are more focused on the landfill side. I mean, there -- those that will persist will be leachate cost. We, as a company, are looking longer-term to try to control our own destiny and bring the leachate handling and treatment in-house versus having to rely in some cases on third-party POTW plants. Landfills generate a lot of leachate. They're big rain collectors, right?
And so as those costs move up, that's the needle mover for this industry. Again, I already talked about rising CapEx cost, and for that matter, rising litigation costs. The U. Anybody with checkbook will get sued. And landfills are -- have a target on their back in some markets. And so look, the persistence of those cost items will not abate anytime soon. So I wouldn't be surprised if you see disposal pricing continue to click up despite other pressures having abated. One more, and I'll turn it over.
Your leverage sits around 2. And given your free cash flow and so your free cash flow profile, and if you guys get sub 2x, do you think your balance sheet gets a little inefficient? And if that's the case, do you have any larger deals in the pipeline? Or do you guys just go straight to buying back a lot of stock?
You haven't seen us go below 2x since then. We drifted closer to 2. So I don't expect to see our balance sheet fall below 2x. Obviously, as the return on capital increases to shareholders, that'll keep the leverage, probably longer term between 2. Can we talk a little bit and remind everybody how the volume calculation works that -- landfill is clearly -- it's straightforward, but vast majority of the business is service space, and therefore, price is really the motivator?
And so flat volumes against a strong price on inflation at 2. Look, this business is more about, in many cases, a fixed pay system, right, fixed pay service. And so when you look at kind of units of increase, it really narrows down the amount of revenue that's exposed to that and that big third-party volumes at the landfill, which obviously gets weighed, you can look at volumes for that.
Away from that, you've got a point-to-point business in roll-off for construction-related activity. This industry is not about a volume game. I mean, it is an industry where price retention is most important, and we like that kind of a fixed pay approach in good economies and bad. That helps. And then where are we as a company on infrastructure-related spending to -- as you get bigger and bigger, things like ERPs moving from servers to clouds?
And I'm assuming you're doing that -- all those investments as normal course of business that we don't need any particular carve-outs for them. We've never called out or added back any sort of IT-related. These metrics are regularly updated to reflect usage leading up to the last few days. Citations are the number of other articles citing this article, calculated by Crossref and updated daily.
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In my opinion, bitcoin hasn't had its Facebook moment yet. Imagine the price when it does. Howells first mined the bitcoins—a process of using computing power to confirm bitcoin transactions on bitcoin's public ledger, the blockchain, in order to generate new units of the currency—on a Dell laptop in February The following year, he disassembled the computer into parts and stored the hard drive in a drawer at his home. It remained there until , when he mistakenly threw it into a general waste bin at his local landfill site.
More than four years of trash have since been dumped on top of the hard drive, meaning any salvage operation would be both costly and time-consuming. Despite making several requests to the local council, Howells has yet to be granted permission to look for the missing treasure. It is estimated that around 2. If Howells ever does retrieve the lost treasure, he says he would use the money to fund cryptocurrency start-ups, buy property and treat himself to a Lamborghini.
They can then be used as payment, with every transaction being recorded in a public list known as blockchain. Unfortunately they refused the offer and won't even have a face to face discussion with me on the matter. After discovering the mistake, Howells went to the garbage dump to see where the hard drive might have ended up. The area covered is huge. However, he now believes he knows how to retrieve it. Approximately 50 percent would be for investors who put up the capital to fund the project, and I would be left with the remaining 25 percent," he added.
Read more: Bitcoin bubble could burst, warns expert. A spokeswoman for Newport City Council told CNN that the local government authority had been "contacted a number of times since about the possibility of retrieving a piece of IT hardware said to contain bitcoins.
In a statement sent to CNN, the spokeswoman said the council had not refused the offer -- but rather, was not permitted to excavate the site. She said: "The council has told Mr Howells on a number of occasions that excavation is not possible under our licencing permit and excavation itself would have a huge environmental impact on the surrounding area.
EU approves vaccine shipment for Australia an hour ago. Meet the striking lion cub orphaned after birth tragedy. Kyrgios wins five-set blockbuster over Humbert.