Late last year, Thompson Sanitary reported to the city council and to Newport trash pick-up customers that the landfill near Corvallis where all of Lincoln County’s trash winds up is filling up rather quickly. Thompson said if it keeps filling up at the current rate, a new landfill will have to be found. And it will be very expensive – not only for creating a new landfill but also sealing and closing the current one – Coffin Butte between Corvallis and Monmouth, off Highway 99.
At the same time, Thompson Sanitary proposed to the Newport City Council that a curbside compostables program be initiated to help supplement a big composting operation elsewhere in the valley. And to that end, by combining food waste with yard debris and other woody materials into a separate waste bin, a lot of what currently goes to the landfill could be re-directed to that compost manufacturing operation instead. When the compost is manufactured, some of it could be returned to customers that contributed to it.
Thompson proposed that the new compostables program would cost customers between six and seven dollars more a month on their trash bill. Residents attending a public meeting on the subject weren’t too happy about it. But Thompson pointed out that by routing their food waste to their compostables cart, they could get by with a smaller cart for their regular trash, and thereby reduce the price impact of the change.
A little later Thompson announced that they were going to survey all their customers as to their attitudes about the program and how they might react to it. Thompson proceeded with the the survey, and here’s a brief review of the results.
* Thompson asked customers if they used the blue recycling cart for curbside recycling. 97% said they do.
* Thompson asked customers if they compost on their property. 31% said yes, 69% said no.
* Thompson asked if “NO,” what’s the reason. They replied:
Bad Odors – 33%
Attracts nuisance animals – 54%
Attracts flies – 29%
Composting is too much trouble – 43%
Composting is unsightly – 22%
Not enough space on their property – 55%
Neighbors wouldn’t like it – 20%
* Thompson asked if the customer had a kitchen sink garbage disposal. 65 said yes, 35% said no.
* Thompson asked if it’s okay to mix food waste with yard waste in a trash bin. 69% said yes, 31% said no.
* Thompson asked customers if they would favor the compostables pickup service if part or all of the cost of the service was covered. 66% said yes, 34% said no.
* Thompson asked customers if they knew that Coffin Butte was likely to fill up within 40 years if something isn’t done to reduce trash volumes being dumped there. 51% said yes, 49% said no.
Thompson is expected to refine their compostables plan over the next few months in preparation for a renewed franchise agreement on behalf of Newport residents starting July 1st. The Newport City Council makes the final decision on that.