Dear Forklift Fans –
We recently heard about this meeting about reuse, recycling, and waste in Prince George’s County. One urgent topic to be discussed: does it make sense to build a new “enormous, expensive” trash transfer station, or are there other ways to reduce our waste? We’ll be there – hope some of you can make it too!
Ruthie Mundell, Outreach Director
From our friend Suchitra Balachandran:
Time: Wednesday, July 11th at 7:00pm
Place: Council Chambers, City of College Park, 4500 Knox Road (This is short walk from the College Park Metro station, and near several bus lines. There are quite a few eateries in the area, and there is metered parking at the Municpal Building and the parking garage).
Please RSVP by clicking on this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RSVP_July_11_Meeting (An RSVP is not required but would be appreciated. And by RSVPing, you can let us know whether and how you’d like to help.)
Business as Usual
· Every year, Prince George’s County landfills about half a million tons or 1.2 billion pounds of trash. This trash currently ends up at the Brown Station landfill in Upper Marlboro.
· At the current rate of dumping, the Brown Station landfill will last roughly six more years.
· To deal with the amount of trash we produce, the County plans to build an enormous and expensive solid waste transfer station to compact our trash and transport it out of the county.
o The trash would be transported by rail or truck – meaning increased fuel consumption, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions – to be burned or buried in the backyard of another community. (Note – Prince George’s County prohibits the dumping of out-of-county trash in our landfills.)
o Landfilling and incineration destroy valuable resources, pollute, air land and water, and provide very few jobs compared to resuse, recycling and composting.
There is a Better Way
Many jurisdictions in the U.S. and around the world are moving toward a goal of zero waste. Zero waste means that:
o first, the amount of waste generated is systematically reduced
o nothing that can be recycled, reused or composted goes into a landfill or an incinerator
o green businesses are encouraged to mine resources from what would otherwise be wasted and destroyed through landfilling or incineration
o for many jurisdictions, the final goal is to reduce landfilling and incineration to less than 10% of the waste produced
The City of Austin, with a population similar to Prince George’s County, recently published its detailed plan for achieving zero waste. http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-resource-recovery-master-plan-documents
If Austin and so many other communities can be visionary, why can’t we?
The Urgency and the Opportunity
The State requires each county to produce a revised solid waste plan at least every 10 years. Prince George’s County is due to submit its revised solid waste plan to the State, and the time for us to change our path is now.
· The draft of the County’s 10-year solid waste plan has just been released and is available here: http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/government/agencyindex/der/tenyear.asp
· The County will probably hold public hearings on the draft plan early this fall.
· Ten years ago, in 2002, there was very little public input into the plan. Let’s make it different this time
· The choice is ours. Will we continue to squander money, resources and job opportunities, increase our environmental footprint and dump our waste on other communities, or will we do the right thing and make Prince George’s County a state and national leader in preventing waste, fighting global warming, and creating green jobs through reuse, recycling and composting?
We urge you to participate in this grassroots forum to discuss ways in which we can influence this plan.
If you’re not for zero waste, how much waste are you for?
If we don’t move towards zero waste now, when will we do it?
To RSVP or to Volunteer Click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RSVP_July_11_Meeting
Suchitra Balachandran and Greg Smith