Tucson landfill looks to make own gas, Co-Op stays green on Earth Day

Tucson landfill looks to make own gas, Co-Op stays green on Earth Day
Source: (KOLD)

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - At the Food Conspiracy Co-Op, they try to keep things pretty green.

“We’ve just totally eliminated plastic bags at the front registers,” said John Glennon, with Food Conspiracy Co-Op.

They recycle the cardboard their food comes in, grow vegetables in a garden with TUSD students and donate the remainder of their food waste to non-profits. The Co-Op is trying to reduce their footprint, especially because recycling in Tucson might turn a new leaf.

The city is looking at whether it should cut the recycling program collection times or limit types of items that can be recycled.

“In Tucson, we don’t really have an answer… in terms of where our plastics are going to go that we do recycle, and I think it just presents a challenge,” said Glennon.

If the Co-Op is not able to recycle, those things inevitably end up at the landfill.

“We don’t think about it when we just dispose of it. We just think it just disappears, but it doesn’t,” said Carlos De La Torre, director of the environmental and general services department for the City of Tucson.

The landfill has a 70 year lease, but it has to expand to meet the demand of the area. They are currently building a five million cubic-yard waste “cell,” that should hold the trash of a million people for about five years. The cell should be open for trash in the fall.

“We’re running out of landfill space up on top,” said De La Torre.

However, the landfill is trying to be as earth-friendly as possible when dealing with trash. As the piles and piles of trash decompose, it releases methane gas, something the landfill can use.

“We would essentially extract the landfill gas, clean it, and then turn it into pipeline quality …so we can use it to power up out fleet,” said De La Torre.

They want to use the gas made from the landfill, to power the operations at the landfill, but that comes at about a quarter-of-a-billion dollars, and the City would need to approve the funding.

“It all sort of illuminates the fact that being environmentally conscious and sustainably conscious is more than just throwing your plastics into a blue container,” said Glennon.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.