trees will be first
to feel brunt of yard-waste ban
that don't cut the Christmas season short are going to find the
grinch still hanging around when they dismantle their holiday
tree. He'll likely be savoring the highly controversial ban on
dumping yard waste into the Cherry Island Marsh landfill.
"It (the ban) goes into effect on
Jan. 1st, 2007. We'll start doing inspections on Jan. 2nd, 2007,"
James Short, environmental program manager for Delaware
Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, told a
meeting of the Recycling Public Advisory Council.
Although he didn't refer to it, a
department press statement issued just before the meeting
specifically listed Christmas trees as contraband along with
leaves, grass clippings and such.
A department spokesperson said it
again this year will accept trees at Bellevue, Brandywine Creek
and White Clay Creek State Parks in northern New Castle County
through Jan. 15. Disposers will have to cart
Ban may be axed
representative Wayne Smith told
Delaforum that he will introduce
legislation early in the coming session
of the General Assembly to rescind the
proposed measure would allow Delaware
Solid Waste Authority to expand the
Cherry Island Marsh landfill an
additional six feet to 201 feet. That,
Smith said, would provide the additional
height to remain in operation until 2025
or 2026, the same as would happen if the
ban goes into effect and the present
height limit is kept.
matter of any future yard-waste ban
would be left in the hands of the
General Assembly. This will give time
for [the natural resources department]
to address the issues of cost and
unanswered questions before any future
yard waste ban were to be implemented,
said his bill will be cosponsored by
representative Robert Gilligan and
senator Karen Peterson. "I have support
from legislators around the state on
this," he said.
the trees there and
will be asked to ante up a 'donation' of $2 per tree. The
traditional 12 days of Christmas end on Jan. 6.
Short said trash-collecting firms
dumping at the Delaware Solid Waste Authority landfill after the
ban goes into effect will be "charged a fee" for any truck in
which yard waste makes up more than 10% of its trash volume. He
didn't specify what the 'fee' will be, but said it is expected
to be sufficient to induce them to reject such material from
The council at the meeting on
• Announced it will try again in
the coming session of the General Assembly to get statewide
mandatory recycling legislation enacted.
• Heard a strong denouncement
from one of its members of the major trash-collecting firms for
shifting the burden of providing residents with a convenient way
of complying with the ban to the waste authority.
The afternoon meeting attracted
about 75 members of the public. Those who took advantage of an
opportunity to speak were unanimous in denouncing the ban. One
man, in particular, was vehement in complaining about the added
cost it will impose on persons like himself living on moderate
fixed incomes. A woman accused the waste authority of falsely
claiming that the bags it provides those signing up for its
recyclables collection program are biodegradable.
The meeting was held against the
backdrop of a generally believed notion that legislators will
make a strong bid to either overturn or delay imposition of the
yard-waste ban soon after the Assembly convenes in January.
Short said proposed
recycling legislation is now
being drafted and will be presented to the council at its next
meeting. He did not say what it will contain.
Pat Todd, who represents the
League of Women Voters on the gubernatorial advisory panel, said
it is obvious that omnibus recycling legislation does not stand
much of a chance in Dover. "We've been trying since 2000," she
said. Such a bill was passed by the Democrat-controlled state
Senate during the last session, but died in the Republican-led
House of Representatives.
Todd suggested splitting any
proposed measure into components. She strongly urged that one
empower New Castle and Sussex County governments to establish
trash-collection districts in which companies would bid for
exclusive franchises. Kent County has such districts.
Council chairman B.J. Vinton
noted at a previous consultant's report had noted that the
present cost of trash collections in such district could be
reduced by an amount that would easily offset the cost of
separate collections of recyclable material.
Civic activist Wally Kramer, who
represents the Delaware Environmental
Alliance for Senior Involvement on the council, cited
announced costs as the basis of his criticism of
trash-collecting firms. Waste Management and Allied Waste
Services, which hold by far the largest shares of the market,
"have told 50,000 to 60,000 people that they have to go to the
solid waste authority" to handle their yard waste, he
Although those companies would
end up with considerably less trash to haul, they have offered
customers rebates of only $4 a month for signing up for the
waste authority program. To do so, householders would have to
pay $9 a month -- $3 for yard waste on top of $6 to pick up
recyclables. Contracting for the basic recyclables program is
mandatory in order to get the optional yard-waste service. Trash
haulers are charged a 'tipping fee', which is based on weight of
the trash, to dump at the landfill.
Kramer said both companies
provide more economical recycling service elsewhere in the
country. Steve Masterson, who represents Waste Management on the
council, said the cost of establishing a separate recycling
collection service would require charging customers
"considerably more" than the amount at which the waste authority
is offering such service.
Kramer acknowledged that the
waste authority's charges are in line with what a consultant
previously estimated they would be, but added, "we have no data
to show that the costs are reasonable."
Pasquale Canzano, the waste
authority's chief operating officer, said that the agency is in
the collection business only because it is required to be there
as a last resort. "We want the private sector to step up to the
plate," he said.
The natural resources department
recently issued a list of haulers offering yard-waste
collections. Tri-State Waste Solutions was the only
waste-collection company with a significant share of the market
on the list.
Canzano denied a rumor that
out-of-state haulers are using the Cherry Island Marsh landfill.
He said some companies doing business in Delaware license their
trucks in Pennsylvania, where they also do business. One group
of trucks frequenting the site, he said, belong to a
Philadelphia-based firm which hauls construction waste away from
the site and provides a reprocessed covering material for the
The waste authority, he said, is
prohibited from accepting waste from out of state "and we have
inspectors who make sure that doesn't happen."
He also said that the waste
authority's 'igloos' recycling program is not a likely outlet
for yard waste. Use of the sites, he explained, is donated by
private owners, who specify conditions for doing so. "The
containers we have for newspapers and cans get filled up
quickly. We would have to have enormous containers for yard
waste," he said.
Besides, Short said, "yard waste
-- particularly grass -- goes sour very quickly."
Read previous Delaforum article:
Delaying yard waste ban called 'dangerous'