Recycling Public Advisory Council is putting final touches on a
plan crafted during the past several months which, if enacted
into law, would require everyone to separate most recyclable
material from general trash and garbage for separate collection
and would prohibit disposal of yard waste such as grass and
leaves in what is now the usual manner for most people.
the proposed program is to divert at least 30% of residential
solid waste from the state's three landfills and to market
recovered material for new uses. That would be about six times
the present recycling rate resulting mostly from voluntary
efforts. Including waste generated from commercial sources
increases the target rate to 40%.
more widespread participation has long been advocated by
environmentally attuned people, efforts of the council, which
was established in 2000 by an executive order of former governor
Thomas Carper, were given impetus by the dispute over the
Delaware Solid Waste Authority's plan to significantly enlarge
the landfill in Cherry Island Marsh in northeast Wilmington.
agreement reached at the beginning of 2004, the council is
teamed with the waste authority and the Department of Natural
Resources & Environmental Control -- which also are represented
on the council -- to recommend by the turn of the year a plan to
achieve the 30% goal by July, 2008, to Governor Ruth Ann Minner
and the General Assembly. The agreement provides for the plan to
be accompanied by proposed legislation to be introduced into the
Assembly when it convenes in January.
meeting on Oct. 20, the Council agreed on most provisions of a
preliminary draft of a plan to be put before four public
hearings. They will be held at the Dover Sheraton hotel on Nov.
4, the Rehoboth Beach conventions center on Nov. 8, the Carvel
state office building in Wilmington on Nov. 16 and the Embassy
Suites hotel in Newark on Nov. 17. The sessions will begin at 7
elements of the plan call for separated recyclables to be
collected by private hauling firms or municipal trash collectors
on a regular basis. Instead of being taken to a landfill,
however, they would be taken either to a processing facility
operated by the waste authority or to a privately operated
processing facility. Yard waste would either be mulched or
composted on their property or householders would have to
arrange with a trash hauling, landscaping or other firm to
collect and dispose of it.
the additional collections would be covered by fees charged by
the commercial hauling firms or borne by municipalities
providing trash collection. Processing of the recyclables would
be subsidized, to the extent that cost exceeded what could be
recovered by selling the material, by increased fees paid by all
licensed trash haulers.
resolved at the council meeting was an estimate of how much
mandatory recycling would cost householders. Figures previously
presented to the council range from about $3 a month to $7 a
month. It was decided at the meeting to have the members
preparing the presentation for the public hearings to settle on
a range of what the cost is likely to be for inclusion in the
agreed that if the estimates turn out to be understated, there
will be claims that was deliberate in order to secure public
support. If they stray too far on the high side, it could
jeopardize passage by the legislature of enabling legislation.
basic in terms of achieving public support for its plan is how
many attenders will show up at the hearings. After a burst of
initial attention, the council's activities have drawn a limited
amount of news media attention. Pasquale Canzano, its chief
operating officer, said to counter that the waste authority will
spend $20,000 on newspaper display advertising in an effort to
attract a crowd to the hearings.
Parkowski, the waste authority's attorney, said it also will be
necessary to counter "two prevailing myths" -- that the
additional cost of mandatory recycling will be fully recovered
by selling the processed material, and that the program will
eliminate the need for landfills.
preliminary draft said that, without expansion, Cherry Island's
life expectancy is about two years and that achieving the 30%
recycling rate will extend that by only about four or five
months. If the goal is achieved, the three landfills combined
can operate for about 20¾ years instead of the presently
estimated 17½ years.