Dallas’ waste management plan could be terrible for the environment, some say

The city’s waste management plan could open the door to trash burning, which environmentalists say is a horrible idea.

Dallas City Council Wednesday is set to vote on a proposed waste management plan that has some environmentalists and neighborhood residents worried.

One of the more controversial components of this plan is an allowance for trash incineration, which Texas Campaign for the Environment representative Zac Trahan via e-mail calls “one of the most polluting processes known to humanity.”

Trahan is urging Dallas residents to ask their city council reps to postpone the vote because, he says, this plan was crafted “without meaningful public input.”

“There was only one public meeting to gather citizen input for the plan—and it was held in the middle of the summer last year,” he notes. “We need more public hearings now to give all residents a chance to offer their input … [we have an opportunity to] set realistic expectations and timelines to make Dallas a leader on recycling. There is no pressing reason to rush this plan through now, so let’s take the time to get it right. After all, it will help guide us for another 30 years.”

He adds that going forward with any plan that does not specifically exclude trash burning would be detrimental to our environment.

Trahan also tells a Morning News reporter that the plan isn’t aggressive enough about promoting true recycling efforts and “makes excuses for bad practices.”

The proposal, entitled Local Solid Waste Management Plan 2011-2060, would also address recycling at apartments—as is, apartments aren’t required to recycle (which is kind of unbelievable, no?)— and a potential plastic-bag ban.

Assistant City Manager Forest Turner told the News that the plan is just a guidepost. “It doesn’t authorize the city to build a gassification plant or ban plastic bags or require recycling at apartments,” he says, adding that any plan would ultimately be submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for acceptance.

If you care to see the entire plan, here it is.

Back in 09, we visited the McCommas Bluff landfill and wrote a cover story about the Dallas trash business, which provides an interesting backdrop for discussions on the proposed plan.


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