Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Green Solutions sent out notices to their customers that beginning the first of February they would no longer collect or transport glass to the Solid Waste District. This was due to the work hazards of handling glass: cuts, abrasions, and back strains (glass when collected is HEAVY). That notice was translated by a few individuals that glass was no longer accepted by the solid wast district and that it was all going to the landfill for burial. Glass is still collected at the community recycling center. The colors are being separated as we have on individual that has had a long term art project on his property and needed different colors. His project is winding down and we are looking to no longer need to have glass separation, unless we are requested by another waste diversion project. We are looking to obtaining a larger dumping trailer that the glass can be placed in without regard to color. We will then transport full trailer loads to the Moab Landfill location to use either in the sub base for compost pad liner expansion OR mix with the limited soil on site to use for intermediate cover on the debris received for disposal. Some folks would say this is not recycling. I agree. However, it is putting another use to the glass, sometimes referred to as re-purpose or re-use which has a higher preference level to recycling, based on US EPA guidance. By adding to the soil on site, we are reducing the need to find alternative cover materials (soils) which is passed on reduced fees needed for operations at the Moab Class IVb landfill. To participate in diverting glass into another use, individuals will need to bring their material to the recycling center which is open Monday-Saturday, from 8 am to 5 pm. We close on holidays plus Jeep Safari Sunday.
Recently I was asked if the District was taking the plastics collected at the community recycling center and burying them. My answer was a resounding no. In fact, on January 25, we sent to market 5,607 pounds of Plastics 1, PETE or PET (water bottles for instance) and 1,146 pounds of Plastics 2 Natural, HDPE – translucent (milk jugs for instance). Now, let’s look at the income and expenses for this quantity. The gross income from the total 6,753 pounds of plastic is estimated at $57.30. The cost to transport this material is $84.25. The income received does not even pay for transportation. The other costs for labor, utilities, fuel, baling wire, and supplies to prepare the materials to ship are also not being recovered. As mentioned in a previous entry, China’s National Sword program has negatively impacted prices received for these and some other commodities and will continue to impact for quite some time in the future. How badly is the impact? The price we receive for PET is zero (0) cents a ton, ie. nothing when in previous years it was as high as $50 per ton. The HDPE-Natural is valued at $0.05 or $100 per ton, early last year it was $240 per ton . The other HDPE (soda bottles) we collect and periodically ship is paid at $0.005 per pound or $10 per ton and early last year it was $40 to 50 per ton. The cost to transport any non cardboard commodity is $0.0125 per pound or roughly $24.95 per ton. At least this has not significantly raised in the past few years. The net result is that neither PET or HDPE-Color pays its way to transport much less all the costs to get it to market. Let me quickly address the Plastics 3 through 7 or all the other container plastics received at the center. To recycle this material we have to pay $17.50 per ton plus the transportation cost of $24.95 per ton for a total of $42.45 per ton which would significantly add to the loss already being absorbed by the district for the other plastics. This sad state of charge to recycle these items began in early 2016. The district made a conscious decision to continue to take these items, bale them and begin to find ways to use locally. At this time, the district is using the baled plastic 3-7 to develop a windbreak at the Klondike Landfill for our open air maintenance and storage area. So to those that claim the district is landfilling the recycling center’s plastics: we are not. Instead, we are making every effort to honor the citizens and businesses desire to reuse, repurpose, or recycle the materials. Having said this, the district is looking to it’s finances and grappling with how to find adequate funding to allow this effort to continue as we do believe in a vision of sustainable waste diversion which includes recycling. As always, the district staff is open to ideas, and of course, free will financial support.
Many people are unaware of how much Moab's recycling is impacted by global happenings. Last year, China enacted their National Sword program, to reduce the amount of trash coming into their country listed as recycled material. In some cases, the material was full of contamination from single stream areas that did not do a good job of sorting the material. Part of their program was to ban the import of post consumer plastics and mixed paper unless a specific standard of .3% contamination rate was met. To bring that down to what it means to us here, for every 1000 yellow marbles, you are looking for 3 that have dings in them. Recently China relented and the contamination rate allowed was raised to .5% or 5 marbles with dings out of 1000. For us locally, the price paid for sorted, clean plastics one and two, that we produce, we no longer receive $50 to $250 per ton but in some instances, we get nothing or in some cases up to $10 per ton. Our transportation costs alone costs about $27. 50 per ton to move plastics and other commodities. This also does not include the cost of paying our employees a living wage, the cost for utilities to make bales of materials or the fuel cost to take the material from the drop point to the baler to process or loading the baled commodities. If we were to send plastics 3 through 7, those items like some of the food storage containers, we are expected to pay $50 per ton to process the material which is on top of the collection, processing, loading and transportation fees. Economically, this is not a viable option for us in Moab. Other items are not as glum, such as cardboard, aluminum, and steel cans. Those items almost pay for themselves, but it takes a long time to get 22 tons of such material. Glass is another product that is hard to handle and justify sending very far to recycle because of cost both monetarily as well as through carbon footprinting, but there is an alternative use for glass which the district has embraced. We can use the glass to subsidize the lack of adequate dirt cover at the Moab Landfill. We are also using the glass to build the compost pad to allow for any liquids to percolate and move away from the compost and top cover of the old portion of the landfill. We have a few local artists that use the glass for their projects also. With the pressure being placed by China's demand for better feedstock on the global recycling community, the long term benefit is better material and more accountability by local generators. In the short term, though, pickings will be slim and the district is working on what items make the most sense to recycle and what items can we use locally to our advantage and still not place in a landfill for disposal but use the items for one more time.
The district personnel are always open to ideas and thoughts on how we can become a more sustainable entity. Meanwhile, we will continue to work towards reducing materials that are just "thrown in the landfill". Stay tuned......
When I correct someone for calling the Moab Landfill a “dump,” some folks think it’s just another example of “political correctness.” Let me share the real reason with my readers today. A rose by any other name is still a rose, or so the saying goes. But a dump is not a landfill and there is a difference between a dump and a landfill (besides the cost)!
There are several important differences. First, dumps were usually open without anybody present to check on loads - people could bring whatever they wanted and leave it anywhere. Second, dumps weren’t constructed to protect ground and surface water quality. Dumps allowed open burning of trash, a significant cause of air pollution. Dumps were often left open (that is, not covered) for extended periods of time, which meant problems with rats, mice, birds and similar pests, especially when there was food waste left unburied. Dumps were usually put in the most convenient place to hide the materials, such as gullies, arroyos, canyons or similar areas. When dumps were filled, nothing was done to prevent problems. Was the trash still covered? Was there chemical contamination? Was there a fire danger? Bottom line: several decades ago, Americans decided that dumps were no longer acceptable for disposing of our trash. Dumps are the past.
Landfills are built and operated to provide a public health service; to handle the community’s trash while addressing environmental concerns. To this end, a modern landfill has controlled access, inspections of incoming trash loads, constructed to limit water contamination, is operated to reduce air pollution from open burning, keep trash covered to limit animal and bird attractions, monitor for gas and water quality around the site, and is managed to ensure financial security to cover and then maintain a closed landfill for at least 30 years. In addition, many landfills do more than just disposal, they offer types of recycling, composting, and a resource for talking trash or giving students a field trip experience to learn about ground water and air monitoring efforts.
Some folks may prefer the “good ol’ days” of the dump to expensive landfills today. But were they really the “good ol’ days?” Uncontrolled access gave everyone a chance to dump trash or whatever whenever they wanted, instead of being kept to limited hours. (For Moab Class IVb landfill, the operating hours are Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday from 9 am to 4:45 pm with the gate closing by 5 pm. The landfill is closed Wednesdays, Sundays and most federal and state holidays.) Uncontrolled access meant anyone wishing to cut corners could bring in and dump illegal chemicals and other hazardous wastes. These people made that dumped waste everyone’s problem, not just their own: those items could contaminate the water, both on and off-site. In the “good ol’ days,” “somebody” (maybe the county or local town) would come in (once in awhile, when they got around to it) to push the trash into a heap or over an edge and set fire to it. Sometimes, they would push dirt to bury it. Sometimes “somebody” might put a fence around it to keep livestock and children from getting in so easily. But much of the time “somebody” was “nobody”; and the dump was not just an eye (and nose) sore, but a threat to the community and the environment.
The “good ol’ days,” fortunately, are gone. We, the management and employees of the Solid Waste Special Service District, take our responsibility seriously to operate the landfills and recycling center using best management practices. The modern landfill is our community’s investment for future generations, to preserve our environment and protect us from our own wastes. It is a far cry from the old “dump” and shouldn’t be confused with it. Ever. Not just when I can hear!
To the Concerned Citizens of Moab City and Grand County:
The Solid Waste District is the current owner/operator of Moab’s Community Recycle Center. Included in the District’s 5-year plan, is a goal to increase recycling throughout Grand County. Recently the District has received calls and emails expressing concern about the treatment of glass at the center and the landfills. Currently, the District is hauling the glass to the Moab Landfill where it is crushed and used as an intermediate cover for the construction and demolition waste that is being disposed of at the landfill. Because there will not be enough dirt to finish the Moab Landfill, The District can realize a benefit from the crushed glass which saves the cost of buying dirt and reduces the gate fees charged per load. The District has also used the crushed glass to build a new road up at the Moab Landfill. There are many challenges to selling the glass including our rural location, the small volume generated, a declining economy, high fuel prices and finding transportation for the load. The District shipped one load of 24000 pounds of crushed glass to a dealer in Salt Lake who builds counter tops but was told that the glass was dirty (i.e.: labels need to be removed). The District is currently working with Tony Able of Coors to find a means of transporting the glass to Colorado. This requires a belly dump truck and, if the driver does not find a load to return with, the transport cost must be paid for both directions. We only receive reimbursement to cover the shipping costs to Colorado therefore a return trip that we have to pay for costs us about $1,000.00. In addition, the District plans to build concrete bins with covers to store the crushed glass in an effort to keep the dirt out. The Solid Waste is committed to serving the recycling needs of our residents and visitors and we will continually work to make improvements that will maximize our recycling potential.
Any concerns, comments can be directed to the Solid Waste District office at 435-259-3867 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
From January to June of 2012, the recycle center has collected almost 2 tons of glass. While the glass is not being remade into bottles, it is being crushed and mixed with dirt for the landfill cover or used in roads and cements.