A contract with a California company will soon allow Phoenix to divert its tons of palm fronds from landfills to be converted into animal feed. 

On June 22, Phoenix City Council approved an RFP from Palm Silage that will allow it to divert a portion of the approximately 34,000 tons of palm fronds that the city sends to its landfill each year, according to a city news release. The contract allows Palm Silage to take the fronds, grind them up, combine them with nutrients like dates, canola, wheat and rice and convert the mix into nutritious livestock feed pellets.

The contract is part of Phoenix’s goal to divert 40 percent of its waste by 2040, according to local radio station KJZZ.  

“Phoenix is taking a product that would have gone to the landfill and turning it into an innovative cost-saving solution,” Phoenix Councilwoman Thelda Williams, chairwoman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee said in the news release.  “This is exciting, not only are we lightening the load that goes to the landfill, but we’re saving taxpayer dollars and creating new jobs.”

Palm Silage’s usage of the fronds is sustainable both in the end product and in using the fronds. Because palm fronds are fibrous, green waste facilities often reject their ground up version because the fibers can get caught in the machinery, AZCentral reports.

The contract helps Phoenix save money, too. Dumping those fronds costs over $500,000 per year, and the mass of the fronds is the equivalent of over 4,500 African elephants, according to AZCentral. Moreover, the city will pay Palm Silage $12 per ton of processed fronds it collects, which is $5 less than what Phoenix pays to currently have them transferred and buried at a landfill, the Ahwatukee Foothills News reports. This diversion will increase Phoenix’s diversion rate by about 3 percent. Overall, diverting palms from landfills through Palm Silage will save the city about $170,000 per year, local TV station KSAZ reports. 

“Innovative solutions like this are what it means to have a circular economy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said in the news release. “This contract shows that regenerating and repurposing our resources can extend the life of our landfills and create jobs at the same time.”

 

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