Dane County landfill only has 15 years until it’s full; how you can help it buy time

Dane County landfill only has 15 years until it’s full; how you can help it buy time

The Dane County landfill has the capacity to store 10 million cubic yards of waste. Right now, it’s storing 8 million.

John Welch, the director of the Dane County Department of Waste and Renewables, said the landfill will be at full capacity in less than 15 years.

“If suddenly, waste volumes drop off, it could last much longer. If you have higher waste volumes because the economy is doing really well or you bring in new customers, that could bring in more volume, and it could fill up more quickly,” Welch said.

Welch said the department has two options when the time comes close to the landfill being full:

1. They could extend their permit to expand on the space they have

2. They could scope out a new location and build a new landfill elsewhere

However, each of those options will cost millions of dollars. Welch said the longer they can hold off spending that, the better.

“Anything that we can do to divert more waste from a landfill, increase recycling, increase waste diversion, is good for everyone.”

Welch said summer tends to be a busy season for the landfill. He said he sees more cardboard and plastic items being thrown out as people tend to move during this time. He also said the better the economy is, the more waste he sees as more people start to buy more things and discard the wrapping those items are sold in.

The Dane County landfill only has 15 more years until it’s full. What can you do to help buy time? Recycle. There’s still a lot of recyclable items being thrown in the garbage. Learn what your community recycling center accepts by looking at your local #Recyclopedia. #news3now pic.twitter.com/gPhiLTgX5L

— Jamie Perez (@JamiePerezTV) April 18, 2019

One major point Welch made that will help buy time for the landfill is to recycle. However, a lot of people don’t know what is acceptable to recycle, so many people simply throw things away.

“In terms of actual recyclables, we see a lot of cardboard, a lot of plastic bottles, a lot of paper coming in the waste load still,” Welch said. “The simplest answer is to take a look at your local recycling website or give them a call and ask what can go in the bin and what can’t.”

Each recycling center will accept different items depending on the community in which residents live.

In Dane County, the 2019 Recyclopedia states any plastic with Nos. 1-7 can be recycled. However, plastic cups can only be recycled if they have the Nos. 1, 2, or 5. It also states what materials can be recycled, the size of items that can be recycled and the proper steps to prepare something to be recycled. A full, detailed list can be found here.

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