Tony Miano, a deputy Public Works director in Tempe, Ariz., worried about the future of the agency he helps to oversee. At the mercy of private haulers, the municipality’s landfill rates rise every year while its trash keeps piling up. Thinking ahead, Miano’s found a way to cut costs and waste that he thinks will turn into a moneymaker in time.
Through the now three-year-old program, Tempe collects yard waste, turns it into compost and gives it away to residents, 10 surrounding cities and industry and government organizations. While the trash-turned-to-commodity will remain free to residents, others will eventually be asked for a modest fee, leveraged to keep the growing program going.
If you go to Tempe’s field operations headquarters you will see the 25- to 40-foot hedgerows, stacked 10 feet high. Residents come pick it up as do public parks, schools, the Phoenix Zoo and others.