GreenYes Archives

[GreenYes Archives] - [Thread Index] - [Date Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]

[GreenYes] "Rule to Lessen Smog Would Hurt Efforts to Reduce Trash at Landfill, Officials Say"

Ca: Rule to Lessen Smog Would Hurt Efforts to Reduce Trash at Landfi

Posted by: "Teresa Binstock" binstock@no.address   aspergerian

Sun May 11, 2008 6:51 am (PDT)

Rule to Lessen Smog Would Hurt Efforts to Reduce Trash at Landfill,
Officials Say
Posted on: Saturday, 10 May 2008, 12:00 CDT
By Adam Ashton, The Modesto Bee, Calif.

Modesto's 30-acre compost site is caught between a green rock and an
eco-friendly hard place.
It takes 65,000 tons of green waste each year and turns it into organic
fertilizer, a key component in helping the city comply with a state
mandate to divert half of its garbage out of landfills.
But a proposed rule aimed at reducing ozone pollution could drive up the
cost of composting, which could lead to cutbacks at the site and more
waste winding up at landfills.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District wants to rein in
volatile organic compounds, a precursor to smog that leaks out of the
seemingly endless rows of decomposing material that sit at large compost
Its proposed rule would require companies and cities that compost more
than 50,000 tons of waste a year to install equipment that filters smog
contributors. The district's board of directors is expected to vote on
the rule early next year.
Putting in the filtering equipment would oblige Modesto to more than
double what it charges to accept a ton of green waste from $18.75 to
$40, estimated Jocelyn Reed, city solid waste division manager. Or, she
said, the city could scale down its operation to fit in under the
50,000-ton threshold.
Increased composting costs would start to make the landfill attractive,
composters say. The county landfill charges $30 to take a ton of garbage.
"It's going to be twice as expensive to compost material as it is to put
it in the landfill because of the demands of what they expect you to
do," said Dennis Shuler, environmental affairs director for Modesto's
Gilton Solid Waste Management, whose company composts 30,000 to 40,000
tons of green waste a year.
On the finished end, some industry representatives worry that more
expensive compost could drive more farmers to buy synthetic fertilizers.
The city charges $15.75 for about 1,200 pounds of compost.
"Rather than beneficially reusing these materials through compost,
because of the added regulatory burden and cost, it would go back to
landfill or be disposed of in the least environmentally friendly way,"
said Jan Marie Ennenga, executive director of the Manufacturers Council
of the Central Valley.
The air district is taking those criticisms into account while it
refines its proposal, said George Heinen, the air district's supervisor
for rule development.
Every little bit counts
He said the air district must consider any source to reduce the valley's
chronic pollution. Compost sites could contribute as much as 57 tons of
volatile organic compounds to the valley's air each year, according to
the district's early estimates.

"It all adds up; we need every tenth of a ton," Heinen said.
Those numbers are a source of disagreement between the air district and
The air district based its projection on a Southern California study
that showed a ton of compost material yields 3.84 pounds of volatile
organic compounds.
A 2007 study at Modesto's site conducted by the state Integrated Waste
Management Board came up with much lower numbers -- from 0.8 pounds per
ton of pure green waste and as much as 2.6 pounds per ton of composted
food waste.
"At this point, we do believe there's quite a bit, but the exact number
is still being refined," Heinen said.
Matt Cotton, a composting consultant, said the industry he represents
thinks of itself as green because of its work diverting waste from
"Clearly, the idea of regulating emission from green waste composting is
very brand new, and you have the juxtaposition of these competing goals,
which are both desirable," he said.
Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@no.address or

[GreenYes Archives] - [Date Index] - [Thread Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]