Monday, August 24, 2009

Cherry Island Landfill: Pile it Higher and Deeper

Yesterday's News Journal article about the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) describes how the agency's reliance on revenue from tipping fees makes it difficult to shift to greater use of recycling. The article quotes from an unpublished report that questions whether the DSWA can shift its focus from landfilling to recycling:
"It seems counterproductive to place the burden of establishing a recycling program on an entity whose main source of funding comes from tipping fees at the landfills," the task force report said. "For that reason, it may be necessary to establish a sister authority to do for recycling what the DSWA has done for trash."
Unfortunately, the DSWA has so far been unable to to create recycling programs that can replace the revenue lost from diverted landfilling. In the meanwhile, the DSWA has enormous fixed costs it has to cover, including $95 million to shore up the Cherry Island Landfill and raise the maximum height from 172 feet to 196 feet (and even higher if it could get the permits).
DSWA CEO Pat Canzano neatly summed up the agency's dilemma:
"I don't care if only 10 percent goes into a landfill and 90 percent goes to recycling, as long as the fees we charge support the program and people are paying a fair price for the service they're getting," Canzano said.
The trouble is that the DSWA hasn't figured out how to make money from recycling. The City of Wilmington contracts with a Philadelphia firm, Recycle Bank, to process its recyclables.
The Cherry Island Landfill is expected to reach its capacity in the year 2034. 25 years may seem like a long time, except when you consider that
there is no place to put the next landfill in northern Delaware.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Jersey?

2:48 PM, August 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

6:39 AM, January 09, 2010  

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