Environment
9:04 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Waste Management District Approves 5-Year Plan; Drafts Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance

The Louisville Waste Management District has passed a resolution adopting a new five-year solid waste management plan. The plan now goes to the state for approval.

The plan sets a vision for the county--one that includes more recycling and less landfilling of trash. With help from a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant, the county plans to increase the recycling rate to 50 percent of all waste in three years and to 90 percent in 30 years.

The plan also proposes a ban on plastic bags for use with yard waste, because plastic contaminates the yard waste and makes it impossible to compost. Solid Waste Advisory Board member Sarah Lynn Cunningham says although the public is under the impression that the yard waste is composted, in reality almost all of it goes into the landfill to be used for daily cover.

When I reported on the issue last month, Metro Public Works estimated 70 percent of the yard waste ends up in the landfill because of contamination. Metro Government pays Waste Management $31 a ton to haul away the yard waste, for a cost of nearly $1.4 million over the last four fiscal years.

If plastic bags weren't used for yard waste, at least one form of contamination would be avoided. In a first step to implement that goal, the district’s board drafted an ordinance. The measure requires yard waste to be placed in either reusable containers, paper bags or certified compostable bags. The board has the authority to pass the ordinance itself, but is first seeking input from Metro Council members and the Mayor.