The town is considering spending millions to buy the existing landfill infrastructure from its solid waste operator Waste Options as its decades-old contract with the company is set to expire next year.
Big decisions are on the horizon for Nantucket's policymakers as they determine how to handle Nantucket's waste stream as the contract comes to an end.
When the Select Board meets this Thursday for a special meeting at 6 p.m. to drill down on the town's looming trash dilemma, it will unveil part of its strategy: to control Nantucket's existing infrastructure at the dump off Madaket Road.
That includes the composter (pictured above), which processes organics and other household trash, as well as the transfer station, used for loading, sorting, and processing construction and demolition waste before it is transported to the mainland for disposal. Both of those facilities are currently owned and operated by Waste Options. If successful in acquiring those assets (the estimated price tag exceeds $4.4 million), the town will then issue an RFP (request for proposals) to identify a new solid waste operator through a competitive process.
What is still up in the air, however, is whether the town will pursue an innovative solution utilizing emerging technologies to deal with its waste when that new solid waste operator takes over.
The town is actively evaluating gasification and pyrolysis as potential options and has already sent some of the island's plastic waste to two facilities for pilot studies to produce electricity or liquid fuels from fuel pellets.
Currently, only 10 percent of the trash that comes into the municipal landfill off Madaket Road ends up getting buried in the landfill. The vast majority is sorted and transported off-island for final disposal, including recyclables, construction and demolition debris, scrap metal, mattresses, tires, old appliances, and unusable textiles.
Read the town's full presentation for this Thursday's meeting by clicking here.