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Landfill in Racine County nearing capacity, could cost taxpayers

NOW: Landfill in Racine County nearing capacity, could cost taxpayers

RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Racine County landfill is almost out of space, and if things keep going the way they are, it could affect residents’ wallets.

Kestrel Hawk Landfill takes in about 20,000 tons of waste a year.

Jim Palenick, Racine’s city administrator, says it will reach capacity in five to six years.

“There is a level of urgency around solid waste management planning,” he said. “We think it’s important to be thinking about this issue now.”

Palenick says if capacity is met, the landfill will have to close and cities will have to find a new landfill to truck the waste to.

If that location is 100 miles away, that could get costly.

Taxpayers would have to take on the added burden.

A way to avoid, or at least put-off, running out of landfill space is to reduce the amount of waste we produce.

Michael Keleman is an environmental engineering manager who co-founded the Zero Waste Initiative.

“[It’s] all about reducing what you purchased, to begin with,” he said. “Refuse to buy things that just become a throwaway item.”

Palenick suggests using reusable water bottles, putting leftovers in the fridge to be eaten later and using a food disposer in your sink.

“Food waste is 20 to 30% of what we send to the landfill and if we just use the disposal we can send it to the advanced treatment plant here in Racine and make clean water, energy, and fertilizer,” he said.

Palenick says Racine may look at opening a new landfill, but between finding a site, which no one would want to live near, buying the land, building and designing it, it’s a process that could take nearly a decade or more to complete.

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