Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Where does Charlottesville Trash Go?

"Lawn Mower Art"
If you have trash pickup you probably have never ventured to the Ivy Material Utilization Center (Rivanna Solid Waste Authority or Ivy Center) in Albemarle County.  It's a magical thing, for your trash to disappear in the wee hours of the morning to never be seen again.  If you choose to dispose of your own trash, you can drive it out South of I-64 in Ivy to our old landfill for a fee of $2.00 for each 32 gallon bag.  The Charlottesville Landfill was closed in 2001 due to ground water contamination so our household garbage is either recycled or transferred to another jurisdiction for disposal. 

There are two places that take trash, the Ivy Center and Van der Linde, a privately owned center, down 250 E toward Richmond.  All trash waste of Albemarle County and Charlottesville City ends up down 250 E way outside of Richmond.  That's a lot of trash.   

One of the most interesting articles I have read was in Garbage Magazine about where your toilet water goes and what happens to it along the way.  I know, you are scrunching up your nose and making an eeeeuuuuu sound, but seriously now, it doesn't just dissipate into the atmosphere, it GOES somewhere.  Americans throw away 4.5 lbs of trash a day - that's the equivalent to a sack of flour.  Locally, we only recycle 34% of our trash -- bad, bad, bad.  You should spank yourself if you do not recycle! There are several places to recycle in Charlottesville, downtown McIntire Center and on the UVA campus.

As the world becomes more populated and resources more limited we all should stop and think about what we're consuming and ultimately what we're each contributing to the waste stream.  The more valuable land becomes and the less available spots in which to bury our discarded consumables, the higher our fees for disposal will climb.  Disposal fees keep going up at the Ivy Center, not significantly but it does show there was some need to gain more revenue.  Apparently this need was partly due to the Cville trash dramas concerning hauling fee collection or the lack thereof.  Trash hauling is a money maker, disposal seems to be an inconvenience for any jurisdiction.  No one wants to live by a landfill and most people have a trash collection service and never think about where their trash ends up.

Trash disposal at the Ivy Center varies from $8.00 - $66.00 a ton, depending upon what type of material you are bringing to the center.  There are spring and fall FREE disposal days for certain large household items.  We took advantage of this last fall and took our water heater to the center.  There is nothing worse than living next door to a neighbor that accumulates trash so before you make a large purchase, think of how you are going to dispose of that product (and how much it's going to cost you) after your done with it. You can also pick up a truck load of mulch for $24.00 a ton. 

Personally, I find the process quite interesting.  The Ivy Center has its very own Thrift Shop. The Encore Shop is the end of the road for disposed of "treasures".  I have actually purchased several storage racks, a filing cabinet, a cool rooster platter, and a box of glassware at the Encore Shop.  It would be any easy thing to just let people drive in, dump, and run so it is great that some of our waste is diverted from our earth.  It is a small moneymaker for the center and a good all the way around concept. 

Kudos for reducing, recycling, and reusing even at the end of the road.

Tempting "Collage Table" at the Encore Shop
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