Waste deep

Find out what Washoe County is doing and could do about solid waste by reading and providing feedback on the Solid Waste Management Plan draft report, posted at tinyurl.com/solidwasteplan.

Back in 1991, when the state legislature required the Washoe County Health District to create a solid waste management plan, landfilling was the name of the game. It still is. Despite the EPA placing landfilling and incineration at the bottom of its list of waste management alternatives, nearly 70 percent of local waste—in Washoe County, as well as most of the West Coast—meets its final resting place in the landfill. However, private businesses have stepped up to fill some of the gaps left by municipal services, allowing for things like composting, electronic waste collection, and hazardous waste recycling. Yet new technologies within the waste management industry are being presented all the time, and this 116-page report attempts to address some of them.

Readers can learn the difference between clean and dirty MRFs (materials recovery facilities) and how Washoe County doesn’t have either type. They can find out about local composting facilities—Washoe County has permitted one, at RT Donovan off Pyramid Highway; another is pending approval for residents in Golden Valley. They can read about the waste-to-energy plant in the works in Storey County. They can also read about recycling—where they can do it and a list of things they can recycle (plastic bottles) and some things they can’t (plastic that isn’t in the form of a bottle.) The county recycling rate for 2009 was 32 percent, which is better than the state goal of 25 percent but worse than the national rate of 33 percent.

The report presents the strengths and shortcomings of current local waste management, as well new technologies that could be considered and goals to improve the system. Residents have until June 30 to review it and submit comments to <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,115,119,109,45,112,108,97,110,64,119,97,115,104,111,101,99,111,117,110,116,121,46,117,115,34,62,115,119,109,45,112,108,97,110,64,119,97,115,104,111,101,99,111,117,110,116,121,46,117,115,60,47,97,62)) } </script>.