would coincide with the beginning of a statewide mandatory
recycling program envisioned in legislation being prepared by
state Senator David McBride for introduction into the General
Assembly after it reconvenes in January.
Meanwhile, at least one and possibly two firms which compost
lawn waste in other state are seeking to establish such an
operation in Delaware. Their presence would enable the
Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control to
follow through with imposing a ban on dumping grass, leaves and
the like in any of the waste authority's landfills.
Paul Wilkinson proposed at a meeting on Dec. 17 that the
gubernatorial council demonstrate its seriousness in furthering
its long-talked-about goal of having Delaware join other state
and local jurisdictions around the nation which require
householders to recycle paper, plastic, metal and other material
by urging the providing of the wherewithal to have that happen
have [mandatory] curbside recycling without a 'murf' and we
can't have a 'murf' without curbside recycling," he said. 'Murf'
is an acronym for 'municipal urban recycling facility'.
subsequent resolution approved unanimously by the council calls
on the waste authority to begin planning for such a facility
initially capable of processing 30,000 tons annually of
recyclable material brought to it in mixed batches of different
It is not
clear how much weight the request will carry with the largely
autonomous waste authority. Pat Canzano, its chief operating
officer, who also is a member of the recycling council, did not
raise any objections, but did reiterate that the authority's
position is that any program or service it provides must pay for
itself. Although a quasipublic agency, the authority receives no
came time to vote, Canzano abstained on conflict-of-interest
Wilkinson raised the point, the council received a memorandum
summarizing McBride's current thinking about the legislation he
previously said he will introduce. The lawmaker was not present
at the meeting and the council went no further than a general
discussion of his approach.
idea is to require mandatory recycling of at least one material
designated by the waste authority as recyclable by Jan. 1, 2006.
By Jan. 1, 2008, at least three materials would have to be
recycled and, by Jan. 1, 2010, the law would apply to at least
half of all materials designated as recyclable. After that, the
authority, at its discretion, could add additional materials to
the law would apply statewide, it would put the responsibility
for implementing -- and, presumably, maintaining -- curbside
recycling programs upon each of the three counties and all
no mention in the summary of how recycling programs would be
financed nor how participation would be enforced. Steve
Masterson, of Waste Management, noted that it appears to leave
it up to each jurisdiction what material would have to be
recycled. He said that would "be a nightmare" for
refuse-collecting firms which operate in several jurisdictions.
summary includes a provision for each county to "implement a
program to increase the composing of organic waste material" by
Jan. 1, 2005, and to come up with "a system of grants, loans,
tax incentives and other means to encourage the development of
private interests for the end-uiser market for recycled
appears to overlap the natural resources department's effort,
which currently leans in the direction of using its regulatory
authority to simply ban dumping yard waste in the landfills.
O'Connor, founder and president of Manassas, Va.-based Prism
Group, told the council that he operates a profitable commercial
composing business under contract with Prince William County,
Va. It processes and resells 60,000 tons of grass and leaves a
year collected there and in neighboring Fairfax County.
able to move [the finished products] easily and probably could
[sell] three times what we're now doing," he said. Until now,
the company, a successor to one which O'Connor formed in 1996,
has sold in bulk. Next year it plans to begin packaging the
product for sale at retail as well.
of yard trimmings, he said, yields 1.86 cubic yards of enriched
topsoil, 0.25 yard of compost or 0.71 cubic yard of mulch
his firm would be interested in a similar 'public-private'
arrangement with the Delaware natural resources department or
other government entity. As a business venture, it would 'break
even' if it handled a volume of somewhere between 20,000 and
30,000 tons a year, he said.
the Prism process does not generate noxious odors, a common
complaint with composting. Both of its processing sites are out
natural resources department also is talking with McGill
Environmental Systems, which has composting operations in North
Carolina and Ireland and is interested in locating in Kent or
Sussex County, the council was told.
of an effort to promote recycling generally and particularly the
recycling of electronic equipment, the department has hired
Aloysius Butler & Clark, a Wilmington advertising firm, to
conduct a newspaper publicity campaign.
cautioned that that and other efforts to drum up support "should
play down the notion that [recycling] is free."
the basic overriding premises is that it's not going to be
subsidized; people are going to have to pay for it," he said.
Creating a contrary impression "is going to come back and hunt