What happens to the trash? To find out, take a tour of Pierce County’s Landfill and Composting Facilities on Saturday, Jan. 25 from 9:45 a.m. to noon. You’ll gain insight that not many get to experience and you'll change the way you view your curbside containers. Seating is limited so register now. Cost is $10 for members and students and $20 for non-members.
The recycling, yard waste, and garbage from Pierce County’s 800,000 citizens take an elaborate and calculated journey once they leave our curb. This tour will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the complicated systems and state-of-the-art facilities that handle and process the county’s yard waste and about 1 million tons of garbage generated annually.
The 3-acre indoor composting facility located near the closed Hidden Valley landfill on Puyallup’s South Hill is one of two high-tech facilities that compost yard waste in-County. Electronically controlled and monitored, this facility turns our residential yard waste into a usable, nutrient rich compost in about 32 days, all while creating its own indoor weather system. This location works in tandem with other regional composting facilities to make sure that an equal balance of materials going in generate the best product coming out. The property at Hidden Valley also houses Pierce County’s largest transfer station and the old, closed, 76-acre landfill.
The second stop on the tour will be the final destination for all garbage generated in Pierce County. The 304th street landfill, opened in Graham at the end of 1999, is both an impressive display of engineering and environmental protection, as well as a dismal look at the culmination of our waste behaviors. With a planned final footprint of 168 acres, this landfill will be home to garbage generated in Pierce County, including the City of Tacoma and JBLM, through 2040. We will also take a from-a-distance look at the waste-to-energy facility which produces electricity from methane produced by the decomposing garbage and the collection system that is in place to capture, transport and treat the constant flow of leachate (garbage juice).
We'll meet at the SR 512 Park & Ride behind the McDonald's and load a bus to the landfill and composting facilities.
Jessica Ludwig, Resource Conservation Program coordinator