Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Do Florida politicians understand waste at all?

Photo from Robin Milcowitz of SHCG

[Charles] I've received a couple of emails and faxed a few protest letters this week against a bone-headed bill called HB 569, as in "569 ways to waste mulch". Let me be clear, I'm not a very good gardener or protester, and my cop-out answer is the same for both, because I'm soooo busy! Right, I know, everybody's busy, and that's why this year I resolved on Earth Day to do more letter writing and email forwarding on environmental issues. (I decided that this year I would make an Earth Day resolution as my contribution to the celebration, but that's a different post)

So anyhow, these people, we'll call them "legislators" for lack of a better term, have decided that one of their very favorite ways to champion alternative energy is to use something we call waste to energy. I like to refer to it as "wasted energy" because honestly it's sort of like saying well, "I'm going to burn tires for heat this winter to cut down on all those nasty emissions from the coal plant." So "waste to energy" is the darling of waste management folks in many places including Florida because you can avoid making a new landfill and burn bad stuff and make energy, and who wouldn't like that? Well, what if the fuel in your fire was say... dollar bills? That's not something I'd want to make a log out of, but what do I know right? That's silly anyway, nobody advocates burning dollar bills for energy do they? Well... If you are one of the thousands of gardeners and landscapers and farmers that uses the mulch that is generated in our system right now that is exactly what you are talking about.

Wasted money - You see, in Tampa I can put out a separate can of yard waste - leaves, limbs, and grass clippings and those travel separately to a mulch maker like Mother's Organics out in Seffner that upcycles them into mulch and compost that they can sell back to customers like gardeners and farmers and me. This is apparently a waste of a perfectly good source of methane though. Yep, if we could just get this stuff into our landfills and let it ferment then we could make one of the most noxious greenhouse gases around. Wait, what?! Yep, that's right we can make good ole clean burning methane (except it's not so clean and pretty hard to capture). On top of that in Florida, they don't really want to tap methane, they just don't want to have to send two separate trucks and deal with two separate waste streams.

That means that all of that useful organic material that we work hard to harvest from our yards will go right in the pile of stuff to burn. How about this for a protest? How about let's all pile up our leaves and sticks and go right back to burning them in our yards like we did in the 50's? That way at least I don't have to buy back the energy from them after they burn it for me!

Okay, now that you are as annoyed as I am, please take sixty seconds and follow the link below and pass along how you feel about this bill to those folks in Tallahassee that know so much more about what's good for Florida than you or me...

or link here...

This easy link was setup by the amazing folks at Green Florida that have been instrumental in projects that we proudly support like our Seminole Heights Community Garden as well as all of the community gardens that they have helped grow. For additional info on Green Florida

For more information, the original letter from Green Florida is here:

Also, to get involved with our Community Garden here: http://seminoleheightscg.ning.com/


  1. Thanks Charles. The momentum is gaining strength. Governor Crist has the bill on his desk right now and we have potentially 13 more working days to make an impact and get the bill vetoed. Your support is tremendous. Thank you!

  2. ROCK ON CHARLES! I'm sure I'll get beat for this - but, you're seriously In Charge, dude.

    That was a great article and I will post it on our website and make sure that everyone knows to read it and get over to Andrea's second and brilliant attempt to get people involved and sending letters.

  3. We just delivered 310 Letters to the Governor!