Several members of the Cocke County Landfill Committee showed up for a Monday meeting but because there was no quorum, they met in a workshop.

The demolition waste landfill for the county was closed in July 2018 because it was full.

Since then the waste has been landfilled by Waste Industries at a cost of about $20,000 per month, the committee was told. There is growing concern the acreage for an expanded landfill should have been permitted months ago.

Currently trees are being cleared before a liner can be installed in the expanded acreage.

The committee also heard from Jim Harris of Bybee who urged them to consider plasma technology, as an alternative to landfilling. He argued the process results in a 30 to 1 reduction, and leaves a slag ball that is not toxic.

Harris argued that process is the way to go

“Eventually this is probably the way that just about all trash will be handled. Recycling doesn’t work because it costs a lot to take it to places to be sorted and in the end you are just using taxpayer dollars to subsidize it. With a plasma torch, you grind it up, feed it into a furnace and you’re done. You can recover the energy from it, the metals, and the slag ball that is left can be used in paving or concrete, or whatever.”

Harris argued that the high heat in the process eliminates virtually all of the pollution that would go into the air with an incinerator.

He argued that eventually, household waste from a landfill finds its way into the groundwater.