Information on landfill bans reply to John McCabe

Blair Pollock (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:59:29 -0500

John McCabe of Oakland asked about landfill bans on yard waste and
dimensional lumber. The State of North Carolina has had a yard waste can in
effect for four years. It appears to be very effective. The State Office
of Waste Reduction now known as Office of Environmental Assistance and
Pollution Prevention may have text available on line. I don't know but you
can contact them at 919-715-6500. State legislative library office is 919
733-7778. research is 733-2578. Most publicly owned landfills enforce the
ban with inspection and double or triple tipping fees on loads found
containing yard waste. This has not created a mulch glut as far as I know.
Many give away their products, some sell them, some like the City of Raleigh
screen, high grade, and bag the material for differentiated markets.

Our landfill has an incentive tipping fee of $10 per ton for separated wood
wastes including all unpainted untreated wood products. v. $33 per ton for
mixed waste or C&D but no ban on lumber. This incentive fee has not
generated nearly the diversion we anticipated primarily because the
economics of housebuilding militate against a separate trip for a ton of
wood to save $23.

I believe it would be extremely difficult to enforce a ban on dimensional
untreated lumber. It is very hard to distinguish a piece of aged untreated
wood from treated esp. when it's buried in a load. also the amount of
dimensional lumber in the const. wood waste stream is shrinking. Many more
composites which are maybe not so bad in the mulch/compost.

We did some on-site testing of mulched engineered const.wood wastes with
glues and found no problems with the resulting aged mulch i.e. no heavy
metals and no formaldehydes (a little formic acid like ants make but not
above thresholds for regulations) We aged the 50/50 yard waste/const. waste
mulch for 60 days then had it tested at state agric.lab. Also tested runoff
from the pile after three storm events and didn't have significant COD
loading in the runoff downgradient. Measurable but only 2x the upstream

There will probably be demand for products produced from yard waste
generated via bans but it will be low-priced (ours is $10/ton and we load).
That plus our $10 per ton tip fee for yard waste covers our cost of renting
a grinder and paying for loading time and equip. deprec. Many public lf's
give it away to residents as part of their lf operations.