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Natural decomposition can turn food scraps and yard waste into a top-notch soil amendment
photo credit: (Credit: Plant pests and diseases)
Compostable trash will continue making a long haul out of Sonoma County for at least another year and a half, after a proposed local facility fell through.
 
100,000 tons. That's about the weight of 581 empty 747 jetliners---equivalent to how much yard waste and compost will be trucked to adjacent counties this year. The figure will grow in the future.
 
A proposal cutting short that long haul for organic waste recently fell through after investors got cold feet. That's left officials from Zero Waste Sonoma pondering the next course of action---six years after a facility at the county's central landfill was shut down over concerns material could wash into a creek.
 
Executive director Leslie Lukacs says Zero Waste Sonoma is exploring all options, including inviting new bids--termed a 'request for proposals,' or R-F-P. "If we are to do an RFP we would have to open up the process again, because so much has changed in the last three years--since Renewable Sonoma was awarded the project, that it would make sense to update any RFP process, but at this time we're analyzing our options." Those include a facility proposed on a 17-acre site near Petaluma along Stage Gulch Rd near Old Adobe Road. Environmental reports on that project, envisioned to process material from Marin and Napa counties, should be completed in about a month.
 
Sonoma County could contract to send its compostable waste there as well. When properly processed, yard waste and kitchen scraps become compost, a building block of fecund soil. Exporting organic waste subtracts from the county's overall environmental ledger and deprives local farmers and gardeners of low cost, local compost. Expected to be on a Zero Waste Sonoma board meeting agenda later this month, Lukacs estimates it could take between a year and a half and three years for a new facility to open.
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