U.S. Composting Council Helps Fight Landfill Ban Repeals

Mar 15, 2011, 16:42 ET from U.S. Composting Council

RONKONKOMA, N.Y., March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Composting Council and its membership is working hard to fight attempts by state legislatures to repeal long-standing bans on the disposal of leaves and other yard debris in landfills in Georgia and Michigan. Both states have seen similar efforts in the past few years turned back by recycling supporters with help from the USCC and local composters.

Often done under the guise of "energy independence" or even "fighting global warming", there is little secret what the real reason that large waste companies are pushing these repeals is: money. The combination of the economic downturn and increased environmental awareness has reduced the amount of material going into landfills, and the repeal of these bans would provide ready cash in the form of "tip fees." "It's a classic 'lose-lose' situation," explained Frank Franciosi, President of the USCC. "You fill up the landfill faster, which means you have to site a new landfill sooner, and you take one of the easiest materials to recycle away from the processors, so it no longer gets manufactured into valuable soil products."

To fight these repeals, the U.S. Composting Council (USCC) is taking a two-pronged approach. First and foremost it is working with groups within the affected states to lobby the legislatures and rally their supporters. "We provide matching funds to help the local groups hire lobbyists and get organized," Franciosi continued, "because each state's needs are unique and the issues and strategies are different."

The landfill industry suggests that demands for the production of renewable energy are driving the use of bioreactor landfills. Even though the actual impact of the energy generated from adding yard waste would be very small, these landfill managers claim that the benefit would be extraordinary. They ignore the very obvious concerns with methane emissions from landfills to the atmosphere, which composting avoids. They also fail to mention that the loss of an existing composting infrastructure means that companies like Wal-Mart and Whole Foods who have made a commitment to composting their vegetative wastes will have to drive longer distances to find destinations to recycle their food residuals.

In addition to working with the state groups, the USCC will be working to gain support from allied organizations and other supporters across the country. "We are putting a 'member alert' system in place to make it easy for friends of composting to send letters to the appropriate policy makers," explained Dr. Stuart Buckner, Executive Director of the USCC. "We are also building a library of resources to help people advocate for more sensible policies such as composting and recycling."

"Fighting these battles costs money," Buckner continued, "and some of these landfill ban opponents have deep pockets." We hope members and supporters take the opportunity to contribute to the Save the Yard Debris Ban Fund by using the Support Legislative Advocacy button at http://compostingcouncil.org or calling the USCC at 631.737.4931.

The U.S. Composting Council is a national not-for-profit organization that advances composting and promotes compost use to enhance soils and provide economic and environmental benefits for our members and society. For more information about the composting industry and the USCC, visit www.compostingcouncil.org

SOURCE U.S. Composting Council