City mulls mandatory compostingResidents of Dickinson may soon have to compost their grass clippings and yard waste.
Residents of Dickinson may soon have to compost their grass clippings and yard waste.
The Dickinson Recycling Committee is planning to provide the Dickinson City Commission with information next month regarding a plan that would make it mandatory for residents to compost their grass clippings and yard wastes, rather than taking them to the landfill, saying composting would save the city money by saving landfill space.
The committee, which met Tuesday at Dickinson City Hall, discussed several options for making mandatory composting a possibility, which included collection drop-off points, the use of compostable bags and curb-side collections.
Setting up several collection drop-off points with roll-off boxes would be a lower cost to the city, and is a favorable option, members of the committee said.
“They (collection drop-off points) would have to be monitored because there could be no plastic bags that go in there because it will wreck our equipment out at the landfill,” said Aaron Praus, a city chief solid waste operator.
Compostable bags could also be used at collection drop-off points, as they can be put in the roll-off box. The city would have to purchase the bags, and then they would be sold on the store shelf or at a central location.
If curb-side collections were chosen as a part of the plan, the city would have to purchase additional containers for the residents to use. Another truck and operator would also be needed due to lack of equipment and manpower. Overall, the cost is estimated to be around $72,000 a year, based on 2010 wages, the cost of truck, fuel and maintenance, according to city information.
Leaving trash cans sit for a while if they have yard waste in them is an option for future enforcement of the plan.
“Most cities have got it set up that city trucks will not pick up any yard waste,” said Ron Bachmeier, a city chief solid waste operator. “If there’s grass in the can, the truck drivers will just let it sit, they won’t pick it up.”
Bachmeier said many people in town think when they bag their yard wastes and don’t put them in the garbage container that the city is taking all the grass and composting it.
“That’s not the case, and most of that grass is going into the landfill,” Bachmeier said.
Having a mandatory compost plan may also steer more residents toward mulching their yard materials, said Gene Jackson, committee member.
An estimated 435 tons of yard waste is taken into the landfill each year, said Skip Rapp, Dickinson public works manager.
“Forty-nine dollars a ton is what it costs us to bring material into the Baler Building, process and it and dispose of it at the landfill,” Rapp estimated.
The committee is expected to give a report outlining options for disposing of yard waste along committee recommendations to the City Commission at its next meeting, scheduled for Monday, June 7.