The Southern Idaho Solid Waste District is exploring a partnership that could eventually recycle up to half of the waste going into the landfill. At the quarterly meeting of Business Plus on Thursday in Burley, district Director Nate Francisco presented an idea to turn almost anything — from cow carcasses to car tires — into natural gas and sold for a profit. “We’re looking at taking this large amount of waste; we’re already getting it in one place,” Francisco told the group. “And now, how do we get the resources out? And how do we make that economical?”
The landfill at Milner Butte serves seven counties of the Magic Valley. Created in 1993, the landfill was designed to be operational until 2080. With the valley’s growth rate and the increase in commercial waste produced in the region, the landfill, however, is estimated to have only enough space left to last only another 35 years. Francisco and members of the solid waste district board are exploring ways to slow the flow of waste into the landfill.
A key idea behind the new plan is resource recovery. By separating still-usable materials from waste, Francisco said resource recovery makes environmental and fiscal sense. The three-part system, operated by private companies, would extract resources from waste, convert them into a valuable product to be sold, Francisco told the group.