Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yard Waste: Keep Piling It Higher and Deeper

The News Journal reports that legislators are once again planning to try to block the pending yard waste ban. Gregory F. Lavelle, a Republican who represents a district north of Wilmington was the only lawmaker mentioned. (Lavelle has also been on the radio this week tossing out spurious reasons for killing the windpower deal.)
The proposal would force DNREC to issue a permit that would raise the height limit on the Cherry Island landfill, based on the mistaken belief that landfill space is free:
"Putting lawn clippings in a highly engineered, secure land disposal just does not make any sense," said Nicholas A. DiPasquale, a former DNREC secretary and current conservation chairman for Delaware Audubon Society.
"It's really not necessary or appropriate," DiPasquale said. "We're basically throwing away a resource, and landfill space is going to increasingly become a premium. I think we need to reserve it for those things that we can't otherwise reuse."
Landfill space is not a renewable resource. The DSWA spent roughly $86 million to increase the height limit on Cherry Island by 23 feet. That's about $3.7 million per foot. That's a lot of money for the privilege of piling grass clippings.
In 2005, the DSWA estimated the cost of a new landfill to be $106 million, a figure that is almost certainly low. It makes economic sense to divert waste that doesn't need to be landfilled. Yard waste is the single largest and most easily diverted component of the household waste stream.


Blogger Paul Smith Jr. said...

Tom (and this is a question, not an argument), what's going to happen in the City of Wilmington when the ban on yard waste takes effect? Granted, most of us don't have much yard waste to take care of, but we don't exactly have much room for composting, either. Will the City be coming up with a plan to handle this, or are we on our own?

And at what level is this ban enforced? If I deadhead some of my flowers, does that have to be separated from regular waste or will that minimal amount be acceptable/overlooked?

9:22 AM, December 20, 2007  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

Paul, I passed on your question to John Rago in the mayor's office, who sent me this reply:

The City is a bit ahead of the game here. We stopped hauling yard waste to the landfill last summer and fall when the ban first surfaced and was then rescinded.

We haul yard waste to a city plot at 12th Street and Governor Printz Boulevard where it is composted and the product is then used for City parks and open spaces.

Every once in a while a bag or two of yard waste might be collected by the sanitation crews and taken to the landfill with the regular trash, but for the most part we will take all yard waste to the composting site.

We are again hauling yard waste this fall also.

We are acting as through a ban is already in place.

Residents can bag their yard waste and call for special pickup (576.3879) or rake their leaves to the street, over the curb, and again call special pickup and we’ll come by a vacuum them up.

1:22 PM, December 20, 2007  
Blogger Paul Smith Jr. said...

Thanks, Tom.

Although, I am a litte disappointed. I figured you'd know that off the top of your head.

Also, I'm assuming that the disposal of minimal yard waste, like my deadheading example, with regular trash will be continue to be okay. Large amounts (which are rare) I will separate.

6:08 PM, December 20, 2007  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

Glad to provide the information as a public service.

As for knowing it off the top of my head, it's been seven years since I worked in city government. As I like to say, ask someone who knows.

8:40 PM, December 20, 2007  

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