Managing garbage in the long term
Metro is looking at a range of options for managing the Portland region’s garbage.
Currently, most of that garbage goes on long-haul trucks to a landfill about 150 miles east of Portland. The Columbia Ridge Landfill near Arlington, Ore., owned and operated by Waste Management, has received much of this region’s garbage since the early 1990s. It’s all set up in a contract Metro holds with Waste Management, and that contract expires at the end of 2019.
Discussion about what happens after 2019 is underway. The focus of that discussion is this: How do we make the most of what we throw away?
Landfills will continue to be a final destination for at least a portion of the one million tons of garbage the greater Portland region tosses each year. But there may be opportunities to use some of that garbage as a resource instead of simply burying it. In July 2015, the Metro Council considered multiple options and directed staff to explore ways to do the following:
- Pull more food scraps out of garbage and use them to make compost or generate energy. Food scraps currently make up nearly a fifth of the region’s garbage.
- Convert waste to electricity and heat through technologies already used successfully around the globe.
- Recover more recyclable and reusable materials from garbage with advanced sorting methods.
In January 2016, the Metro Council directed its staff to explore whether it makes sense to send a large portion of the region’s garbage, after 2019, to the Covanta Marion waste-to-energy facility located a few miles north of Salem. Metro is evaluating whether this option might make sense from an environmental, health and financial standpoint. In early 2017, the Metro Council may decide whether to commit a portion of region’s future waste to this facility.
From Metro news
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