Boise City Couuncilors will consider a proposal Tuesday to offer curbside composting at a cost of about $3.40 per month for the average household.
On the face of it the idea of cutting the amount of garbage in the landfill and the methane gas it generates sounds like a good deal. We certainly agree with the CONCEPT of recycling, but sometimes it just doesn’t “pencil out.”
Ada County Commishes just paid off Fortistar, a methane-recovery-electric generating firm, a cool $2 million for the rights to “excess methane gas,” generated at the landfill.
If Boise residents put their table scraps and other bio solids in green boxes for composting at the city-owned 20 Mile South Farm, affectionately dubbed the “Poop Farm,” that will cut the methane greenhouse gas at the landfill. Sounds good, but how will that impact Ada County and their deal with Fortistar? The rotting garbage is the “fuel” for the methane-powered electricity generator which earns cash for the county. In a nutshell, if a third bin is put curbside, that will mean a 33% increase in garbage trucks and a big jump in staff to sort the “non-compostables” out of the system.
Meanwhile, Boise city fathers and mothers have purchased (or nearly purchased) 120 acres of land –with an assessed value under $70,000– for about $550,000 north of Kuna-Mora Road for a police shooting range. Boise coppers say the location is better than the 4,000 acre Poop Farm because it is about 8 miles closer to town, therefore saving coppers gas to visit the training site. Seems a contradiction to claim to save gas for coppers, but create an exponential increase in trash truck mileage.
We question the wisdom of making hundreds of 40 mile round trips a week with trash trucks to dump garbage for composting, all in the name of cutting pollution. The planners in the city also want to charge us an extra $40 a year for the composting and turn around and provide half the finished product back to us as fertilizer. They claim in a STATESMAN story that some of the compost will be used at the Poop Farm.
What scares the GUARDIAN is the rush to judgement–both on the police shooting range and the composting scheme. Before the council acts this Tuesday, we need some concrete answers to the rotting questions. The big one is: “Will the pollution of natural gas trash trucks traveling an extra 40-80 miles a day be less than the methane generated and recovered at the landfill?”
Many of those answers will have to come from Republic Services, the trash contractor for both the city and the county. To our knowledge there has never been a resolution as to exactly WHO owns the trash. The issue has been raised in the past with regard to recycling commodities such as paper, aluminum, and plastic. At least in the case of Fortistar vs Ada County, it seems some of the stuff belongs to Fortistar.
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