"Waste to Energy"
Councilmember King County Council
Editor: Bob Holert Introduced by: Jenny Andrews
Kathy Lambert, District 3 King County Councilmember was our speaker discussing Solid Waste to Energy (WTE).
In the mid-2000s, King County realized they had a garbage problem and were extremely concerned when they realized King County’s only landfill at Cedar Hills in Maple Valley will be full by 2028. That initiated Kathy’s work on studying viable options around the world.
Before her first trip to Europe in 2006, Kathy was not particularly interested in trash. She knew nothing about solid waste and garbage and did not care. “It leaves on Monday (her pick-up date) and I had no idea where it went from there.” Since then however she has done considerable study how to solve this problem and is driven to implement an environmentally friendly, efficient and cost-effective long-term solution.
There are 4 parts to the waste management hierarchy – recycling, energy recovery, treatment and disposal. However, our present recycling process has two major problems – much of it is contaminated as people do not understand what they can and cannot recycle and prices of recycled products are greatly reduced.
Kathy discussed a state-of-the-art Waste to Energy (WTE) plant in Hamburg Germany which she has visited. She sees a similar WTE plant as the potential long-term solution for King County. This WTE plant functions as a leading-edge trash incinerator: it burns trash at 1800 degrees Celsius in a vacuum that converts the heat to electricity to power homes and industry; rescues the valuable heavy metals; blocks the toxic particles and climate warming gases from escaping; and turns the remaining ash into products that can be used to make cement or fill road beds (in lieu of asphalt). These plants produce clean energy, which is an additional alternative energy source. And the Hamburg plant is cost effective – it costs a little less for a 4-person household in Hamburg than what it costs in King County. Waste to Energy encourages recycling and many of the by-products can be used commercially
Councilmember Lambert’s conclusion from her years of tours and research of WTE plants and potential solutions for handling trash and garbage is to burn it in a modern WTE plant. In this way, you can convert your trash to treasure!
President Chris opened the meeting and Ruben Ladlad led the invocation and pledge. Desiree Yuzawa introduced the visiting Rotarians and guest. Tanya Franzen-Garrett introduced our Student of the Month for December from Sammamish High – Erik Mercado, Accompanying Erik were his parents and Counselor from Sammamish.
John Martinka discussed sponsors for the Walk Run and the club is doing well with sponsors. Girish Bhatia discussed low tech and high-tech options to promote our walk run. Carmela reminded everyone to sign up for the Christmas Breakfast. Robin Callan announced the Dine Around will be February 9 and 10 and to sign up.
About the Speaker
Kathy is the Vice Chair of the Council and serves as Chair of the Planning, Rural Service and Environment Committee and the Regional Water Quality Committee and is the Vice Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee, the Law & Justice Committee and the Mobility Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Public Health Seattle & King County.
Some of Kathy’s passions include working to ensure that government is both efficient and effective, working to end homelessness and protecting the survivors of domestic violence. This includes using the latest technology to serve the residents of King County. She was a driving force behind bringing Safe Place, an outreach program designed to provide access to immediate help and safety for youth in crisis to King County.
Kathy enjoys traveling, time with family and being a grandmother.