Commissioner Toor talks recycling and ‘zero waste’

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/12/2008
In 2006, Boulder County Commissioners took an unusual step and adopted a resolution encouraging its government and residents to work toward creating ‘‘zero waste.” The resolution by the three-member board meant that the county would devise a plan to reduce trash by 50 percent or better by 2010. The ultimate goal is the elimination of all waste by 2025. The county has already upped its 50 percent goal by 2010 to 75 percent or higher. Commissioner Will Toor (D), elected to the board in 2004, was instrumental in developing the resolution along with programs and policies designed to reduce trash.

Recycling expert advises against incinerator

Gazette
Molly Fellin Spence
06/12/2008
As officials consider building an incinerator - or what people in the industry call "waste-to-energy facilities” because they burn trash to generate electricity - to deal with that crisis, an expert in waste diversion had some warnings. "The marketplace is smarter than all of us. Why hasn't the marketplace built [a landfill] in over 20 years?” said Eric Lombardi, executive director of Eco-Cycle. "Until you answer that question, don't write a big check because you're the guinea pig.” As leader of Eco-Cycle, Lombardi is passionate about waste diversion as a clean and ethical way to deal with trash. Eco-Cycle volunteers brought recycling to Boulder in 1976, making it one of the first 20 communities in the U.S. to offer curbside recycling. It provides business recycling collection and drop-off centers as well as educational programs for regional schools. Eco-Cycle also operates the county-owned Boulder County Recycling Center. Lombardi advised a group of Frederick County and city officials and residents Monday that businesses, communities and government must work together to all decide what's the best way to deal with waste.

A healthy dose of skepticism and hope

Gazette
04/10/2008
We are skeptical that America can ever become a society that throws away nothing, or what some environmentalists would call a ‘‘zero-waste” community. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, or at least search for economical ways to throw away less. Officials from Carroll and Frederick counties have been invited to do just that by taking a trip out West. Caroline Eader — who holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology and works as a paralegal for a science-based, nonprofit environmental land trust — splits her time between Frederick County and Boulder, Colo. She has invited Carroll and Frederick leaders to visit Boulder to see how that city handles its trash, and they are responding favorably. They are working to organize a trip for mid-June. Boulder adopted a resolution in May 2006 to work toward becoming a zero-waste city. It uses Eco-Cycle, a nonprofit organization, to manage its recycling program to work toward that goal. Eco-Cycle provides recycling to about 800 businesses, and operates a community recycling center for items that are typically difficult to recycle, such as porcelain sinks, Styrofoam blocks and electronic equipment.

Incinerator meeting, decision dates announced

Gazette
Charles Schell
04/03/2008
Residents can give Carroll County’s Board of County Commissioners their opinions about a proposed regional ‘‘waste-to-energy” incinerator from 7 to 9 p.m. April 10 at a public hearing in Room 003 of the County Office Building, Westminster. But first they can learn more about the proposal that would create a partnership with Frederick County by attending a workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Room 003 of the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster. Frederick’s commissioners voted Feb. 26 to ask Carroll to join them in building a trash incinerator, what industry officials call a ‘‘waste-to-energy facility” because it burns trash to generate electricity. Assuming Carroll generated 600 tons of trash per day, a shared incinerator in Frederick would cost Carroll $140 million to build, compared to $200 million to build one alone. The workshop allows residents to ask questions about the county’s trash and recycling options, as well as the incinerator. Carroll commissioners, Department of Public Works staff and the Environmental Advisory Council will be on hand as well as selected trash experts. Carroll’s commissioners will convene at 11:30 a.m. April 17 in Room 311 of the County Office Building to deliberate and vote on whether they will accept Frederick County’s offer

Officials invited for a new look at trash

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
04/03/2008
A woman who divides her time living in Frederick and Boulder, Colo., has invited officials from Frederick and Carroll counties to see how Boulder’s successful recycling program works. She sees the program as an alternative to the trash incinerator both counties are considering building here. Members of both county boards have spent the last week exchanging e-mails with Caroline Eader. Eader wants Frederick and Carroll officials to meet with representatives of Eco-Cycle Inc., a nonprofit recycling processor that has brought curbside recycling to Boulder residents and businesses since 1976. Eader touts Eco-Cycle’s efforts to create ‘‘zero waste.” The term means that all products and packaging is designed and built to be reused and recycled. Zero waste puts the responsibility of creating recyclable products on the manufacturers. Eco-Cycle is considered a ‘‘resource recovery” processor, because the items it collects are later sold on the open market. "... I would like you to see what a community can accomplish when it has the desire and the facilities in place to achieve a common goal,” Eader wrote in her e-mail invitation to both boards.

Group proposes alternate trash disposal plan

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/13/2008
A trash advisory group in Frederick County will unveil an alternate plan to the county’s proposal to build an incinerator. The plan will be unveiled at a series of presentations beginning Monday. "This alternative plan is designed to capture recyclable material on the front end before it becomes part of the waste stream, substantially reducing the current amount of trash going to our landfill or needing to be exported or incinerated,” said Steve Cassis, of the Solid Waste Analysis Group (SWAG). Friends of Frederick County, a land protection group that has been vocal in its opposition to an incinerator, is sponsoring the presentations. Janice Wiles, executive director of Friends, said since incineration has been on the table for Frederick County, alternative plans have not been considered. The alternative plan includes the building of a ‘‘Material Recovery Facility,” a specialized plant that accepts, separates and prepares recyclable materials to be sold on the open market, composting commercial and household waste and better disposal of construction debris and electronic items. Incineration opponents believe increased recycling will reduce the need to burn trash and reject incineration as harmful to the environment and too costly for county taxpayers. They consider their plan to be cheaper and cleaner.

Residents tout alternatives to burning trash in advance of public hearing

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
12/06/2007
For weeks, incinerator opponents have been encouraging residents to come out Tuesday to tell Frederick County commissioners to scrap the idea of building one here. "We're out canvassing the area and going door to door," said Janice Wiles, executive director of Friends of Frederick County, a group that promotes a better quality of life. ''We've already got several businesses on board." The group has distributed postcards to businesses in downtown Frederick asking residents to come out to Tuesday night's public hearing and voice support to increase recycling instead of spending money to build an incinerator. "It is critical that Frederick County residents show up in force to urge our elected leaders that we must examine other options for disposing of our trash before we move forward," said Alane Hartley, cofounder of the Waste Study Group and a member of Friends of Frederick County. "Local taxpayers have a right to demand more transparency in a process that could potentially create more debt and pollute the air our children breathe."

Carroll’s environmental council says no to plan

Group prefers to increase recycling, charge residents by weight of their trash
Gazette
Charles Schelle
11/01/2007
As the Carroll Board of County Commissioners considers whether to build a trash incinerator, Environmental Advisory Council members have their own opinion about the plant: No way. "Our recommendation is that we not pursue waste-to-energy [incineration], and not pursue it for a period of at least five years,” said Sher Horosko, a member of the Environmental Advisory Council. Horosko’s comments drew applause from the audience at an Oct. 24 Frederick Board of County Commissioners meeting. "[The incinerator] will not have support of a single member of our Environmental Advisory Council,” she said.

Waste not?

Frederick News Post
10/03/2007
Mike Marschner, director of Frederick County's Utilities and Solid Waste Management Division, would like the Frederick County Commissioners to make some decisions. The decisions he's calling for will be some of the more momentous ones this board makes during its tenure, as they will affect how the county handles its massive volumes of solid waste well into the future. In a recent story in The Frederick News-Post, Marschner acknowledges that these decisions will be tough ones, but he also says they "need to happen in the next couple of months because we need to be given some direction." To help the commissioners in their decision-making process, Marschner is scheduled to give a lengthy and comprehensive presentation to the board on Oct. 22. That presentation will be his vision of how the county should proceed in addressing the solid waste it generates. According to the News-Post story, Marschner anticipates that his proposal will be a multifaceted one. Among the things he is expected to recommend are enhanced recycling efforts, waste-prevention programs, and the construction of a waste-to-energy (WTE) plant -- an incinerator that generates electricity from the trash it burns. Proposals for a local waste-to-energy plant have been met with a significant amount of resistance from some private citizens, as well as environmental groups. They have presented an array of arguments against such a plant, including its initial and operating costs, as well as its potential environmental impact.

Let's not incinerate our future

Gazette
Patrice Gallagher
08/23/2007
I agree that Frederick needs to come up with a long-term vision for sustainable waste management. I disagree as to how this should be accomplished, though. Based on what I've read, waste-to-energy incineration is the most costly and polluting method for dealing with our trash, and it is not a final disposal method. A landfill is still needed to handle residual ash, which amounts to one ton of ash for every three tons of trash burned. This ash is toxic, as are the emissions; no pollution-control devices can eliminate pollution completely. The better solution is to look at the resources that are in our trash and recycle and compost them instead. If done right, a recycling program saves more energy than incineration produces. Recycled materials are worth more than electricity produced from burning. There are plenty of great examples in other communities for Frederick to draw upon.

Let’s not incinerate our future

Gazette
Patrice Gallagher
08/23/2007
I agree that Frederick needs to come up with a long-term vision for sustainable waste management. I disagree as to how this should be accomplished, though. Based on what I've read, waste-to-energy incineration is the most costly and polluting method for dealing with our trash, and it is not a final disposal method. A landfill is still needed to handle residual ash, which amounts to one ton of ash for every three tons of trash burned. This ash is toxic, as are the emissions; no pollution-control devices can eliminate pollution completely. The better solution is to look at the resources that are in our trash and recycle and compost them instead. If done right, a recycling program saves more energy than incineration produces. Recycled materials are worth more than electricity produced from burning. There are plenty of great examples in other communities for Frederick to draw upon.

County to sponsor solid waste forum

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/08/2007
Residents will have an opportunity to learn about trash disposal options in Frederick County next weekend. The Frederick Board of County Commissioners will sponsor a forum on solid waste from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., March 17, at Frederick Community College’s Jack B. Kussmaul Theater. The forum is free and open to the public. "The county commissioners recognize that solid waste issues, such as recycling and waste-to-energy proposals, are of utmost importance to the citizens of Frederick County,” said Michael Marschner, director of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, in a press release. "At their direction, we are pleased to host this solid waste forum to address some of the most pressing issues facing the county and to allow citizens the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback from experts in the field.” The county is in the process of looking into the construction of a trash-burning incinerator, or what is being called a ‘‘waste-to-energy facility.” These plants uses trash as fuel to generate electricity that could be sold to an electric utility, such as Allegheny Power.