Landfill Forum held by Environmental Council
by I.D. Smith
Last Thursday (22 May 2014) at the Price Martin Center, in
Palatka, the Putnam County Environmental Council hosted
presentations and a well-informed panel that took questions from the audience. Many important issues regarding Municipal-Solid-Waste (trash) were discussed in detail. Some of the most important issues were: recycling to reduce landfill volume, Waste-to-Energy schemes, and contamination now and in the future.
Recycling is the most obvious method of waste-stream reduction. Its biggest problems are its high labor cost and the market for the recycled items. Glass at this time has no value. The market for paper and cardboard vary from week to week. Plastic is worth about 17¢ per pound. Aluminum and steel are always profitable recyclables. A presentation on a Waste-to-energy system sounded too good to be true. The system offered a 3 year payback and converted trash to high-value diesel fuel. When asked why no-one was familiar with this option, the audience was told that this is new technology.
Contamination of the environment was also a great concern of those in attendance. It was explained that the current contamination of the ground water at the old dump will be corrected by the “mining” of the un-lined landfill. This process is underway now and will take years to complete. Contamination from properly lined landfills has historically not been a problem.
The program was a great success considering that no one left without learning something about these complex and important issues.