Tag Archives: moodys

Too Much Recycling? Free Market Gov’s’ Empty Landfills Worry Wall St.

EARLIER: Moody’s Investors Service has threatened to downgrade the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, currently rated A2, because the state isn’t dumping nearly as much lucrative trash for local towns in its Cherry Island Landfill and other waste sites as it used to.

The state dumps have suffered “substantial declines in tonnage since 2007, from over one million tons, to 675,000 tons in fiscal year ending June 30, 2012,” writes Moody’s in a new report.

“The authority expects tonnage to stabilize in the 600,000 to 650,000 tons range in the near term.

“A large part of the decline since 2010 is due to increased recycling efforts through state bill that prevented the authority’s direct participation.

“Declines have also come in general waste reduction efforts by households.”

If Delawareans don’t start throwing out more garbage, DSWA has the power to raise cash through a real estate tax. Or it could raise dumping fees — which could drive business elsewhere.

On the upside, Moody’s adds, there’s plenty of room in Delaware’s landfills.

GOVERNOR: Gov. Jack Markell’s spokesman, Brian Selander, traces DSWA’s recycling issues to this provision in Delaware’s recycling law: ”Effective no later than September 15, 2011, the Authority shall cease providing curbside recycling services, including yard waste collection…”  Leaving the job to private haulers and the scrutiny of the Recycling Public Advisory Council.

The law has boosted private-sector contractors. See this list of curbside residential pick-up firms locals can choose; http://www.dswa.com/universalRecyclingServices.asp. Compare it to the choices in your PA or NJ neighborhood.

One of the small firms on the list, Brandywine Waste Services, was started by a guy in my (worn suburban Wilmington) neighborhood with a single truck, going door to door seeking customers. Three other services compete for my neighbors’ business. Result: I’m paying less for trash hauling than I did in the 1990s.

Markell, says Selander, “is a free market governor.”

That’ll work, at least as long as the people’s landfills can still pay down their debt…

-Joseph N. DiStefano

When I first read this, I thought I was reading the Onion for a second.

Can anyone really say with a straight face that less waste going to the landfill is a bad thing, simply because their stocks aren’t where they want them?  Do these people really want to landfill yard waste (which makes up more than 25% of landfills) which needs to be used to regenerate our soils?

It would be fun to interview these people and see what they think happens to waste in a landfill…that may be part of the problem.  Have they ever heard of methane, landfill gas, or leaching of toxins into our groundwater?

For those of you thinking this sounds great because they mention high recycling rates and household waste reduction efforts (keep composting!!), the sad reality with recycling is that it’s not all in our hands.  Yes we can set aside the right materials for the blue bin, but it doesn’t mean the stuff is automatically reprocessed into a secondary product (that isn’t usually recyclable) down the line.

It’s up to companies like Waste Management, for example, who can decide to trash an entire load of plastics if they can’t make a buck, or in NE Philadelphia soon enough, turn it into magical green pellets that will incinerate perfectly (don’t get me started).  In short, buy less plastic and reuse more stuff.

One thing to keep in mind: does this data include trash that’s going to “waste to (of) energy” facilities?  For example, Chester’s Covanta Delaware Valley L.P. facility takes in up to 3,348 tons per DAY.  It’s worth noting that over half of Philadelphia’s trash is being sent to their facilities…start contacting your local council creatures, people!

Are these Wall St. losers investing in this stuff instead?  They could have seen an 8% rise in their investment over the last year, wow!  I can’t think of anything better to do than invest in waste processing facilities.  Maybe these guys don’t know that incineration is happening and they really think everything that isn’t landfilled is being recycled.

I’ve been taking a break from writing lately, and stories like this are precisely why.  This scenario is yet another disgusting reminder of how people can lose sight of the bigger picture altogether in exchange for their profits.