Special Session: Waste Problem

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, FL - "So, this is a good example of some pretty mulch that's just tree branches and tree trunks..."

For FSU horticulturist Nancy George, mulch is truly the stuff of life.
With it, she nourishes all the plants and flowers on the Florida State campus. It's more environmentally-friendly than fertilizer, and best of all -it's free, produced with yard waste picked up and ground down by the city.

If not for that, George says, "We would have to purchase our mulch, which, then you have to pay for shipping and trucking and all of that to bring it in. It's probably going to be, maybe twenty dollars a yard."

It may just come to that if Republicans override a veto cast by Governor Crist.

If the override vote passes, landfills would be allowed to collect all that yard waste. The idea there isn't all bad really. The landfills would then have to break the yard scraps down into methane gas, which could then be used to produce energy.

Overriding the veto would be a bold way for the Capitol's new Republican leaders to *stick it* to the Governor, but they could well be doing the environment more harm than good.

Some environmentalists complain there's no effective way to capture all the methane, which carries a global warming potential 21 times greater than carbon dioxide. That's why the governor vetoed the bill in the first place.

Following California's lead, Governor Charlie Crist says. "California's done great things already, and Florida's getting on board, and it's the right thing to do!"

Not that Nancy's not concerned about global warming, but for her and countless other gardeners, the *real* issue here comes down to money.

George says, "The landfill could store it, but they should also encourage the citizens to go out and re-use it in their landscapes."

But there's no guarantee that would happen. All of a sudden, a real premium has been placed on every leaf, branch and stump

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