Tajiguas Landfill Provides Window into ReSource Center’s Waste Reduction Efforts | Local News
As part of Santa Barbara’s Creek Week, the Tajiguas landfill offered a guided tour of its new ReSource center on Wednesday morning, allowing community members to see what happens to their waste once it has been removed. thrown away.
The ReSource Center, which includes the material recovery facility, anaerobic digestion facility and an education center on the second floor of the material recovery facility, opened and began processing recyclables and organics from waste on July 16.
While the landfill has been operating at its location since 1967, planning for the ReSource Center began in 2007, and construction of the facility took approximately two years, at a cost of approximately $ 150 million.
“In the old days, everything you threw in the trash was thrown away forever, buried in a landfill. Your hand was the last to touch what you threw, ”said Sam Dickinson, program specialist at the ReSource Center. “Fortunately, that is no longer the case, but we still have to be concerned about what we are doing.”
The Education Center explains the process that waste goes through when it arrives at the landfill, while emphasizing the importance of reduction, reuse and recycling.
Due to the education center’s location above the material recovery facility, dozens of bales of recyclables that were removed from the trash during processing can be seen through large windows.
“Reducing waste, I think, is really, really important, despite the fact that we sort all of this material and divert it,” Dickinson said. “We always want people to learn the right thing to do.”
According to a diagram from the Education Center, each person generates a little more than five kilos of waste every day.
Dickinson said his goal is to develop a program that gets all fourth graders to visit the facility, which would include schools in Goleta, Summerland, Montecito, Solvang, Buellton and other nearby unincorporated areas.
“I want everyone to come here and see it,” he said. “Everyone needs to see where their waste is going. “
When the waste arrives at the landfill, it is first processed in the material recovery facility, where recyclables and organics – or “the good stuff,” as Dickinson called it – are sorted and taken out. the bin. With the new facility, 65% of the additional waste is diverted from the landfill, bringing the region’s diversion rate to 85%.
The recyclable materials are baled and stacked, ready to be sold and recycled into new products. The organic material is sent to the anaerobic digestion facility, and whatever remains is called residual waste, which is buried in the landfill.
The burial of organic matter is what causes landfills to produce greenhouse gases.
Carlyle Johnston, project manager at the ReSource Center, said landfill gas collection only captures about 75% of the methane generated, with the remaining 25% being equivalent to 22,000 vehicles on the road per year. The anaerobic digestion facility captures much, if not all, of the methane.
“Instead of capturing 75%, we end up capturing almost 100%, 99.9% of the methane,” Johnston said. “We are diverting the equivalent of 117,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.”
At the anaerobic digestion facility, organics are combined with green waste and placed in a large airtight bunker, where they remain for two 28-day cycles. Inside the bunker, moisture containing bacteria circulates to generate methane and break down organic matter into digestate. All this gas is collected and sent to a power plant to generate electricity.
There are 16 large airtight bunkers inside the Anaerobic Digestion Facility and Landfill Resource Center. Each bunker can hold 600 to 700 tonnes. (Photo by Serena Guentz / Noozhawk)
Other sources of green energy at landfill include solar panels and other collected landfill gas.
“[The landfill’s green energy] is enough to fully power this facility, plus a surplus of electricity that powers around 3,000 homes on the south coast, ”said Lael Wageneck, public information manager for the public works department. “This project is the county’s biggest greenhouse gas reducer. “
During this time, the resulting digestate is laid out in rows to dry. Once dry, any plastic or glass is filtered and the organic matter is now compost, which can be used in orchards, parks, golf courses and many other places to enrich the soil.
The whole process takes three to four months.
The ReSource Center anaerobic digestion facility has 16 bunkers and the entire facility can hold almost 75,000 tonnes, Wageneck said.
“[The recycling and anaerobic digestor] really makes waste management a cycle instead of this linear process where you use something, it goes to a landfill and stays there forever, ”Wageneck said.
Currently, tours of the ReSource Center and the rest of the Tajiguas Landfill are available to residents of Santa Barbara County, who can register online. You can find more information about the center and the tours on the ReSource Center website by clicking here.