Council holds on fee ordinance aimed at diverting commercial yard waste from landfill |

Council holds on fee ordinance aimed at diverting commercial yard waste from landfill

A pile of finished compost sits at the South Canyon Landfill.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

City staff recently asked the Glenwood Springs City Council to add a yard waste diversion regulation for commercial companies taking unsorted waste to the landfill.

Council postponed a formal decision until late March, giving staff more time to educate landfill users on the subject and still implement the change in a timely manner. 

“If a load is dumped at the landfill and the load is more than 5% yard waste and the commercial company refuses to sort the material and insists on throwing it in the landfill, that’s when we would run into an issue,” said Liz Mauro, the South Canyon Landfill Manager.

This only applies to loads taken directly to the landfill.

The new ordinance would not affect single households dumping yard waste in their overall waste bin, but is specifically intended to prevent commercial companies from dumping waste that could have easily been sorted, Mauro and Matthew Langhorst, the public works director, both said. 

Currently, 8.7% of the material going to the landfill is yard waste, which equals about 3,350 tons a year, according to Mauro. 

Commercial users, such as property management and landscaping companies, tend to be the ones that have excessive yard waste mixed in with overall waste. 

“Most of them are conscientious about wanting to compost material,” Mauro said. 

City Attorney Karl Hanlon added that it also does not mean people can’t dump their compost at the landfill. They’re just being asked to separate it.

According to city council’s outline for the ordinance request, the price of composted waste is $15/ton less than dumping in the actual landfill. Ideally, when done correctly, this would save people money when taking waste to the landfill. 

Council Member Tony Hershey was concerned about the punitive approach of penalizing people when they don’t sort waste with more than 5% yard waste. But Mauro reassured him that the actions taken would involve warning and education before penalty.

“We would educate them first that they need to either make two runs to the brush pile and the trash pile, or they need to have a way to separate that,” she said.

Then, if warned multiple times, there would be a fee for dumping without sorting out the compostable goods. 

The current urgency to have the ordinance passed in the winter is to give the landfill and the city proper time to do outreach and education before spring cleanup.

Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman noted how quickly the landfill has been filling in a short amount of time, and council agreed that is a concern. But they would prefer to see how the separate pay-as-you-throw bid goes first. 

Council member Marco Dehm moved to have the yard waste ordinance decision slated for late March, and Council Member Ingrid Wussow seconded. The motion passed unanimously with Mayor Jonathan Godes and Council Member Shelley Kaup both absent.

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