Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

The airport recycling dud

Jerry Orr keeps on giving. Among his later decisions was to start an ambitious recycling and composting program out at the airport. How did that turn out? Not so well. From the UPoR:

Despite the program’s success at diverting thousands of tons of waste from the landfill, airport officials have lowered their expectations. They had hoped to divert 70 percent of trash from the landfill, but [assistant aviation director Mark] Wiebke now says the airport can probably divert up to 50 percent – up from the current 30 percent. The airport plans to use the worm compost on its own land to save on fertilizer, instead of selling it.

The first-year financial highlights: the airport lost $489,512 on the recycling program. Not included in that figure is savings of $127,000 on landfill cost. Nice.

And a quote from Orr:

It was a struggle getting it up and running. Like a lot of startups, it cost more and produced less.

Isn’t that exactly the sort of thing that a well-run enterprise makes allowances for? Except, of course, this all involved a no-bid contract with a company with little experience in running recycling programs. This mess sounds like someone didn’t do the necessary amount of due diligence or, in general, apply their brain. In the business world, that gets people fired. In government, it usually doesn’t.

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