As more and more landfills are reaching capacity, new locations are needed and recycling is more important than ever.
"The two biggest items that end up in the landfill are old corrugated cardboard (OCC) and electronic waste (E-waste)," Al Phillips, Environmental Education Coordinator in Spencer said. "OCC takes up a lot of space in the landfill and E-waste introduces toxins, such as lead mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other flame retardants, into the soil, water and the air."
Simply recycling one ton of corrugated cardboard would save roughly 700 gallons of water, 46 gallons of oil and close to 9 cubic yards of space in a landfill.
The City of Spencer created a Recycling Task Force in 2008; to help identify ways residents could stay informed when the recycling services were expanded. Since then, the Task Force has been finding ways to reduce solid waste that ends up in the Northern Plains Regional Landfill south of Graettinger. One of the more recent changes in this task force was the creation of the Environmental Education Coordinator with the goal of providing educational services and opportunities to each of the 27 communities in the planning area. By providing education in the six components of the Environmental Management System, yard waste, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, recycling services, household hazardous waste and other requested topics makes residents more aware of what is going into the landfill and what can be recycled.
Along with the educational opportunities, the Environmental Education Coordinator can arrange tours of the Northern Plains Regional Landfill or the Regional Collection Center in Spencer. Educational opportunities are available for the classroom and after school in the form of poster contests, landfill construction, water quality, waste composition, recycling and other requested topics. Specific programs are also available for Service Area Clubs, Organizations, Chambers and Local Governments.
The hopeful result of these educational opportunities will be a potential diversion of 315 tons of corrugated cardboard and 128 tons of E-waste that is currently going into the landfill.
By the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, July Sept. 2017, the City of Spencer is planning to publish and disburse educational materials and advertisements on the disposal of banned items in the landfill. By the second quarter of fiscal year 2018, Oct. Dec. 2017, a grace period will begin for enforcement of the disposal ban on corrugated cardboard and E-waste, and by the third quarter of fiscal year 2018, Jan. Mar. 2018, implementation of enforcement will begin. An acceptable amount of corrugated cardboard will be less than 10% by volume of the load and E-waste is noticeable quantities.
First Offense will result in a written notice of the violation; pictures of the tipped load, signatures and a copy of the disposal ban policy will be given to the hauler.
Second Offense the hauler will be fined double the assessed gate rate plus of the load receive a pictures of the tipped load, signatures and a copy of the disposal ban policy.
Third Offense, the hauler will be fined triple the assessed gate rate of the load. Receive pictures of the tipped load, signatures and a copy of the disposal ban.
Beyond the Third Offense, the hauler will be fined triple the assessed gate rate of the load AND the landfill will consider banning the hauler from using the services of the landfill for a period of time, as well as receiving pictures of the tipped load, signatures and the landfill will provide a copy of the disposal ban policy for review."