Friday, February 19, 2010

Yard Waste Diversion Going Statewide

New Castle County residents have been diverting their leaves and grass clippings from the Cherry Island Landfill for two years now. Now, as the News Journal reports, the ban is being extended to the rest of the state.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
has issued a secretary’s order barring the landfilling of yard waste as part of a new operating permit for the Sandtown Landfill in Sussex County.
Hopefully, we won’t see bills introduced in the General Assembly to overturn the ban as we did in 2007 and 2008, when House Republicans made it a top priority. Wayne Smith made HB 1
the first bill the GOP introduced in the new session in 2007. A year later, Greg Lavelle's attempt to overturn the ban didn't make it out of committee.
This is not just about being green; it’s a matter of sound management of public resources. Landfills are expensive, and should be used to accumulate trash that can’t otherwise be diverted. Leaves and grass clippings can easily be mulched, either in your backyard or in one of the yard waste sites DNREC has set up to accommodate residents.


Anonymous Edmund Dohnert said...

My impression of the DNREC yard waste collection sites is that while they may be effective in reducing the volume of yard waste going to the landfill, they are also very effective in causing people to burn more gasoline than they otherwise would have.

At the one located off Philadelphia Pike near the Cauffiel House, I often see people arriving in full-size pickup trucks and SUVs dumping one or two plastic garbage cans worth of yard waste. As many of these people probably made at least a 6 or 8-mile round trip, this strikes me as a rather wasteful use of valuable fossil fuel.

Sure it's easy to mulch leaves and glass clippings, but most people don't have the rather expensive equipment needed to handle tree branches of any considerable size.

12:01 PM, February 19, 2010  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

If you want to talk about the use of fossil fuels, consider this: When Cherry Island closes, there will likely be no place in New Castle County to build a new landfill at any price.

One option would be to haul the trash down state. At today's tonnage, that would come to one trash truck heading down Route 1 every minute, 12 hours a day.

12:49 PM, February 19, 2010  
Anonymous Edmund Dohnert said...

Yes, when Cherry Island closes, which it inevitably will, more fuel will be expended in transporting municipal waste to landfill farther away (the option of municipal waste incineration with power generation apparently being off the table).

Still, I think it can be easily shown that a bulk trailer containing say 10 tons of yard waste and making a 160 mile round trip at 4 miles per gallon will consume far less fuel per ton of waste than someone in a 16 mpg SUV making an 8-mile round trip to dump a measly 100 lbs of yard waste at a DNREC center.

It is simply not very fuel-efficient to use a personal vehicle to delivery small amounts of waste per trip. This is called economy of scale.

10:15 AM, February 20, 2010  
Anonymous LiberalGeek said...

It is also worth noting that the yard waste at these mulch yards actually decomposes. In the landfill, it is denied the necessary chemical reagents needed to decompose, so it sits.

Curbside pickup is also available for the yard waste, so I sort of think that is a wash. People can drive their trash to the dump also and they would likely pay less, but they rarely do because curbside pickup is more convenient.

2:06 PM, February 23, 2010  

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