"What should be done with trash?
…A majority of the City Council asked the city staff Tuesday to create a general request for proposals [RFP] on what should be done with Greensboro’s solid waste.
...The decision was prompted by a group led by businessman [and former city councilmember] Robert Mays, who came to the council last week to discuss reopening the White Street Landfill.
Mays wanted the city to start this kind of investigative process so that he could have a confidential conversation with council members about his plans."
Greensboro News and Record, September 23, 2009
"Trash Talk Consumes City Council Briefing
Bob Mays, a former city councilmember…who has been doing business in Greensboro for over 30 years…asked the council at the Sept. 15 meeting to issue an RFP so they could talk to the council about their plans for the entire White Street area without having to worry about their proprietary information being used by a competitor. Mays said that the RFP process would give them the protection they needed to carry the conversation forward.
…By a show of hands the council eventually voted 6 to 1 to move ahead with the RFP process on using White Street Landfill for something.
Paul Crissman, the Solid Waste Division section chief of the North Carolina DENR in Raleigh…[said] exploring alternative technologies is fine, but right now none of them work on municipal solid waste because the waste stream, which is a fancy word for household garbage, is so diverse…He talked about various "Willy Wonka" type machines that had been purchased by landfill operations, and all had failed.
He told the council that there was no silver bullet and handed out a sheet that showed how quickly landfill space used by North Carolina cities was filling up…Crissman talked about different operations he had seen and how long they lasted – most under a year. He talked about why incineration is difficult and it is the same problem – the strange, often bizarre, mix of stuff that people cram in their garbage cans or dump at the landfill.
He said that incineration can work, but it is more expensive than landfilling garbage, and he noted that Charlotte had closed and dismantled its incinerator but that Wilmington's was still in operation.
Crissman was interrupted by a long discussion by councilmembers about whether or not to issue an RFP, how long the White Street Landfill could remain open if it did go back into operation, and a host of other topics. The answer to the length of time is 5 to 7 years, if nothing changes.
...But the city can apply for permit modifications, which can be approved in a couple of months and could extend the life of the current cell while a new cell is permitted. Estimates are that it would take 50 to 75 years to use the White Street Landfill site to its full potential."
Rhinoceros Times, September 24, 2009
"During speakers from the floor at the Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday night, Sept. 15, in the council chambers, the council heard a proposal for an economic development plan that centered around reopening White Street Landfill for municipal solid waste.
What made this proposal stand out were the supporters. One was Paul Gilmer from the Kings Forest neighborhood, within sight of the landfill.
…The push behind this proposal is coming from former Greensboro City Councilmember Bob Mays, who is the project manager of Cico LLC, which has been set up for this project.
Mays said that in the first year of Cico's operation of the White Street Landfill, the city would save $16 million and would save at least $5 million a year every year after that.
Currently the city is paying about $24 a ton to Republic for dumping our garbage at the Uwharrie landfill, and it costs an average of about $12 a ton to transport it down there, plus the cost of operating the transfer station.
…During the summer Mayor Yvonne Johnson scheduled a special briefing for the council to hear about using a plasma torch to transform garbage into saleable items such as precious metals, energy and jet fuel. This proposal was also given by a company organized for the White Street Landfill project. The estimated cost to the taxpayers to set up the plasma torch operation was $500 million.
Mays and Gilmer didn't ask for money, but they also didn't want to reveal their plan.
Councilmember Mike Barber, who was not at the meeting, has said that closing the White Street Landfill was the worst economic decision the City Council has ever made.
…the City Council decided not to put Cico on the next briefing agenda but on the agenda for the October briefing. The council discussed holding a special briefing to hear from Mays and Gilmer but it didn't appear the votes were there. However, this council cancels briefings and reschedules special ones at the drop of a hat, so that can't be ruled out."
Rhino Times, September 17, 2009