Global environmental challenges
The green hill in the distance looks to be natural but then you think “hang on, this is Dallas. There aren’t any hills here … ”
The hill, in fact, masks what was once an illegal landfill filled with cast off debris. The garbage now lies beneath a thick clay cap to prevent the methane, a greenhouse gas on steroids, from seeping out. Natural grass has been planted on the top.
Nearby fish-filled ponds mark the gateway to a 6,000 acre ecosystem which is the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States. And it is all just minutes away from historically disadvantaged and mostly black neighborhoods on the south side of Dallas.
I had been meaning to visit the Trinity River Audubon Center, a partnership between the city of Dallas the National Audubon Society, since it opened in October of last year. I got a gap the other day and it was an eye-opening visit.
No more Mr. Nice Green! San Francisco passed what it called the first mandatory requirement to throw carrot peels, moldy bread and other icky compostable material into separate bins in order to improve recycling. Total recycling would rise to 90 percent from a current 72 percent if all of the paper and scraps currently in the garbage were put in the right cans, the city said.
Mayor Gavin Newsom soft-pedaled the sticky side of the situation (although who wants any carrot in this story?). There is a $100 cap for fines on residences and small businesses, and the main goal is public awareness, he said in a statement.
Enerkem Inc, a private company based in Montreal, wants to kill two birds with one stone — fuel your car while getting paid for reducing trash mountains. They say they can do it by using garbage and biomass as feedstocks for plants that make second generation ethanol and other advanced biofuels
Vincent Chornet, the president and chief executive, said that Enerkem and GreenField Ethanol has reached a deal with the city of Edmonton to take its trash. “They will pay us to take it away from them,” he said. ”Fifty percent of what we put in trash is not recyclable.” That plant should start making fuel in 2011.