Cleveland's New Garbage Plan Smells Like the Same Old Trash

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Last month Cleveland City Council gave the administration and Cleveland Public Power $200,000 for a new trash consultant, and said it would investigate all trash processing options — kinda.

After spending a few million in a stalled attempt to build the first U.S. high-tech gasification plant to turn garbage into cool stuff like decorative bricks and that would give CPP 7 percent of its electricity, the city fired the developer. Critics say a new request to 255 waste management companies asking how best to deal with all our trash is the same as the original: It limits options to things like gasification that would turn the trash into fuel.

“If they’re going to do this they need to start over and set goals,” says Chris Trepal, director of the Earth Day Coalition. She and other enviro types scheduled national recycling experts to talk to council’s sustainability committee about greener trash disposal but after they flew in, the meeting was canceled with no explanation.

The city insists it’s considering options. “Waste-to-fuel technologies, refuse-derived fuel production, and the various digestion processes like composting and recycling, and others,” says spokeswoman Maureen Harper. “A combination of various technologies and processes could work as well.”

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