Recycling explanations and the dead animal pit were topics discussed at UPRSWDD meeting
June 12, 2019
Recycling and dead animal pits were the main topic of discussion for the Upper Platte River Solid Waste Disposal District (UPRSWDD) during the regular meeting on June 5 at the Saratoga Town Hall. Recycling has been a common talking point at recent UPRSWDD meetings as the cost of certain recyclables has plummeted over the past year while the closure of dead animals pits has been on the horizon of many landfill boards for the past few years.
Diversion over recycling
In a pre-meeting workshop that was livestreamed by the Saratoga Sun, UPRSWDD Chairman Randy Raymer explained to those in the audience, and those watching, the struggles the board was facing when it came to recycling in the Valley. This issue, however, is not one special to the solid waste district as recycling across the country has faced struggles following the implementation of the National Sword policy by China.
Begun in January 2018, it took all of eight months before the policy began to affect how the UPRSWDD approached their recycling. With current recycling prices, the solid waste district would need to pay $100 a ton for loose glass and $60 a ton for baled mix rigids No. 1 and 2 to recycle them. Due to those changes, the UPRSWDD began diverting both glass and plastic to the construction/demolition (CD) pit in August 2018.
As Raymer explained the situation, he stated that residents within the landfill district could reduce the amount of plastics and glass being sent to the CD pit by opting to choose beverages that came in aluminum instead of plastic or glass. The most recent recycling prices from InterWest Paper, Inc. show that aluminum cans have a profit of $600 a ton. Raymer also encouraged the use of reusable water bottles.
Raymer further explained that certain impurities could cause a bale to be rejected. This included baled old corrugated cardboard (OCC) that had wet cardboard or cardboard with food residue in the bale. One example was that of pizza boxes. While they are, technically, OCC, the food residue is considered a contaminate.
As was reported previously (see "Recycled discussion" on page 2 of the May 8 Saratoga Sun), while baled OCC currently has no value to the UPRSWDD, so much of it is generated within the district that the board directed contractor Ron Munson to ship cardboard to Cheyenne.
Near the end of the workshop, Raymer stated that while plastics and glass were currently being diverted to the CD pit, he felt landfill users should still make the effort to keep their recycling clean in case the market were to return.
The full video will be available, without a subscription, on the Saratoga Sun website.
Getting a pit full
As the date for the landfill closure draws near, the discussion of what to do with the dead animal pit, one of the only parts of the landfill still being used, has become more important. When the UPRSWDD follows through with the closure of the Saratoga landfill, they will be unable to use the dead animal pit leaving them with a decision on how to dispose of them.
Recent discussions have seen the UPRSWDD board consider either incinerating or composting animal carcasses.
"Are we still discussing, contemplating or otherwise at an incinerator?" asked UPRSWDD board member Leroy Stephenson.
Raymer informed Stephenson the issue still needed investigation following research on incinerators which, according to the UPRSWDD Chairman, would see the landfill board put nearly $350,000 into installing one at the Saratoga transfer station, though much of that had to do with the size of the incinerator. According to Craig Kopasz, Engineering Associates, the district would need an air quality permit from the Department of Environmental Quality and the incinerator would need to be placed on the same side as the CD pit.
The other option that the UPRSWDD has in terms of disposal of animal carcasses is composting. An issue with composting, however, is the compost cannot be placed in the CD pit unless the landfill district can prove that, in the case of wild game, Chronic Wasting Disease is not present in the compost. It would require the UPRSWDD to haul the CWD contaminated compost to a lined facility, such as Laramie.
"Are we still going to consider incineration as an option?" asked Stephenson, "Because I would be more than happy to pursue that to the ends of the earth if that's what you want to do."
Kopasz suggested that, should the UPRSWDD pursue the incinerator, the landfill board could require only animal waste of a certain size could be incinerated. Despite the amount of discussion that took place, however, the landfill board was no closer to a decision.
The next meeting of the UPRSWDD will be at 7 p.m. on July 3 at Riverside Town Hall.