15 Sep 2014
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Hyattsville: No Trash Should Be County Goal

City council adopts letter pressing for changes to 10 year county solid waste plan.

Hyattsville: No Trash Should Be County Goal

Hyattsville city leaders want Prince George's County officials to develop a greener plan for dealing with trash and solid waste over the next decade. 

A letter adopted by the Hyattsville City Council at last night's meeting asked county officials to revise a draft version of the county's new 10-year solid waste management plan. As currently written, the plan predicts a stable rate of trash generation across the county and calls for the construction of a new waste transfer facility where local trash would be shipped to far away landfills.

The draft letter, composed by the Hyattsville Environmental Committee and adopted by the city council at last night's meeting, pressed county leaders to work towards reducing the rate of landfill growth by embracing policies which work towards a zero-waste goal. 

"We urge you to refer the current Draft Plan to further review and revision, and to engage the public in a transparent public process with the explicit goal of developing a comprehensive, visionary plan for achieving zero waste," reads the letter. "The County would not have to reinvent the wheel to develop that plan."

The letter asserts that the county's Brown Station Landfill will reach capacity within the next decade. 

"We are deeply concerned that the current draft plan proposes no concrete new initiatives to reduce waste at its source, increase reuse, recycling or composting, or otherwise reduce the damaging environmental, public health, social and economic impacts that flow from unsustainable consumption and from landfilling and incinerating waste," reads the letter.

The letter was critical of plans to develop a solid waste transfer station, saying that it did nothing to encourage a reduction in trash generation. 

The letter praised ideas mentioned in the 10-year solid waste plan to outfit the Western Branch composting facility to process food waste in addition to yard waste, but called on county leaders to make those plans a reality. 

"Composting our food waste would save landfill space, create a valuable product, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the landfill," reads the letter. "So we encourage the County to examine a variety of models, from backyard composting to community-level operations to large-scale, centralized operations then implement or support the best of them in whatever combination works."

The letter highlights the city of Austin, TX, which–like Prince George's County–has a population of about 900,000 residents and adopted a plan to reduce landfill waste generation by 90 percent while maintaining cheaper landfill fees than Prince George's.

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