Smith calls for trip to recycle business in McMinnville

Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Sam Smith

Marshall County Commission Chairman Sam Smith says he wants county officials and residents to be aware of alternatives that may be available on how trash and other solid wastes can be handled in the future.

To that end, Smith has organized a field trip for commissioners and other county officials who must consider such environmental issues. They're to visit Waste Way, a business in McMinnville that Smith describes as running an "innovative" recycling process.

The July 10 trip is to leave Lewisburg at 8 a.m. and return at 2 p.m.

Waste Way offers "a total recycling of municipal solid waste with a couple of products that they produce; plastic lumber and mulch," says Morgan Thomas, the county's environmental coordinator.

Thomas was contacting the school system to get a van for the trip and was preparing to accommodate a dozen travelers.

"We'll probably take one van and another vehicle," Thomas said.

While acknowledging that county commissioners serve in that capacity on a part-time basis and that they have full-time jobs, Smith said he's planning a series of visits to various sites to inspect and gather more information on the subject.

"I'm charging Morgan Thomas with doing the work to look for alternatives and this means travel," Smith said.

The alternatives are to continue use of Cedar Ridge Landfill and the services of Waste Management, the business that operates the landfill and, under a county contract, runs the convenience centers for household rubbish.

County commissioners have voted 11-7 to permit expansion of the landfill by nearly 11 acres. It's the only space at Cedar Ridge that's not been used for disposal of trash. Furthermore, commissioners have voted 14-3 to amend their contract with Waste Management to document cooperative steps Waste Management is to take toward resolving issues raised by the public about the landfill.

Recycling appears to be one of the alternatives Smith wants explored as commissioners, and their representatives on a regional solid waste panel face as Waste Management pursues expanded use of the facility it has just west of Lewisburg.

The 11 acres will accommodate another eight years of operations at the landfill, according to Robert Cheney, business development director for Waste Management. Without the requested expansion, the landfill could be full in three years, assuming the current rate of disposal.

"If we're going to come up with an alternate solution, we've got to start now," Smith said. "The landfill is going to fill up and this is a priority."

Waste Way is a privately owned business that has a contract with Warren County for disposal of all the county's solid waste collections, Smith said.

"We're looking for alternatives," the commission chairman said of the trip's purpose.