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[greenyes] landfill bans and organics

I have toured a couple of near-by composting operations in the last year
or so, and saw that both of them routinely grind residentially-collected
greenwaste and send the ground material to the landfill for ADC. They
both said that residentially-collected material is too contaminated to
economically use as a composting feedstock. As a municipal collection
agency, this leaves me with limited choices: collect separated greenwaste
and take it to the local landfill where it is used as ADC, collect
separated greenwaste and take it to the local composter for grinding and
use as ADC, spend a large sum of money to take separated greenwaste to a
far-away composter who may compost it or may grind it and send it for ADC,
collect greenwaste co-mingled with refuse and send it to our
waste-to-energy plant. I don't want to get into the justification or lack
of same for WTE here, but, given these choices AT THIS POINT IN TIME, my
choice as a municipality seems pretty clear.

My point is not to try to justify WTE. Instead, I would advocate
including ADC in the landfill ban. In other words, greenwaste shouldn't
go into a landfill period -- not in the trash cells, and not over them
either. Until landfilling greenwaste (in whatever form) is no longer an
option (or is economically infeasible), it will be difficult and expensive
to do the right thing. And if it's expensive, you can bet that
municipalities won't do it -- not with the kinds of budgetary constraints
we all operate under these days. Of course, you can't just ban
landfilling the material without having some other option in place, but
that's another discussion.

Sharon Gates
Recycling Specialist
City of Long Beach, California

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