To the editor:
Congratulations on your thoughtful and thought-provoking Nov. 18 editorial on Utah's "coming garbage crisis."Your calls for a state-wide comprehensive waste disposal plan, for state control of landfill inspections, and for public education to promote waste reduction and recycling are right on. You are also correct in encouraging the state to prepare itself for safe and efficient incinerators.
Many state and local governments with a more serious garbage problem than Utah's apparently can't see the forest for the trees. Rather than concentrating on the largest contributors of solid waste (paper - 42 percent and yard waste - 16 percent) and working on the kind of comprehensive plan you advocate, they are looking for a quick fix by calling for a ban on plastic foam packaging like hot drink cups and "clam shell" sandwich containers.
Foam packaging makes up a mere one-quarter-of-one-percent of the total solid waste stream. Banning these products and replacing them with heavier and bulkier substitutes won't add even one day to the life of a typical landfill.
The Deseret News deserves a lot of credit for leading out and advocating a comprehensive plan of source reduction, recycling, incineration, and environmentally-safe landfills.
You are absolutely right when you say "there are no easy solutions to the garbage crisis facing Utah." However, government, concerned citizens, and industry working together can find those solutions.
Don H. Olsen
Huntsman Chemical Corp.