Why does South Jordan not offer curbside green waste pickup?
This question is asked frequently by residents of the City looking to “recycle” green waste (tree limbs, leaves, grass clippings, etc.). The decision to not offer this service is a combination of green waste demand, and both environmental and economic factors. Currently the Trans-Jordan Landfill (www.transjordan.org) does not sell all the compost it converts from the green waste it receives. Put another way, there is more supply than demand of green waste products. For this reason, were South Jordan to offer curbside green waste pickup, the material would probably not be recycled into compost; rather it would be dumped into the landfill. This is according to Trans-Jordan General Manager Dwayne Woolley.
Additionally, residents would pay a higher monthly fee for curbside service green waste pickup, as a third truck (after garbage and recycle trucks) would be required to pick up the green waste. A third truck increases the carbon footprint of curbside services and creates more wear on the road which both should be considered when making a decision.
The current system, of residents placing green waste in the regular garbage can, does have its benefits. During the composting process, methane, which is a greenhouse gas, is released into the atmosphere. Conversely, when methane is released from green waste within the landfill much is captured and used for cleaner electricity as part of an energy project. Trans-Jordan in cooperation with Granger Energy and Murray City now produces electricity for over 3,000 homes from the captured methane. This project is a benefit to all residents of Salt Lake County, as using the LFG (Landfill Gas) for electricity reduces the need for fossil fueled power plants, creates energy without the need for imported oil and reduces greenhouse gases. The revenue the landfill collects from the sale of methane decreases tipping fees for the landfill member cities, including South Jordan. The City encourages residents to use mulching lawnmowers and compost yard waste materials on their own and offers a leaf drop off program in the fall. However, many homeowners have a need for additional solid waste containers during the growing season. To accommodate residents and upon request, the City will deliver extra containers and pick them up again for an additional delivery and pick up fee of $54 per (waived for containers rented for 12 months or more) charged at time of pick-up. For each month (or part of a month) in which containers are assigned to a residence, an additional garbage container fee of $8.45 is also assessed.
As part of operations within Public Works, the City does separate and collect the green waste from its parks and tree trimming activities – in return the City receives a certain number of loads of compost at no charge from Trans-Jordan which are used in tree rings and flowerbeds throughout City properties.
City staff evaluates potential green waste services on a regular basis to determine if changes make both economic and environmental sense.