Carson City residents hauling everything from old tires to refrigerators and household trash filled the landfill with almost 210,000 tons - 420 million pounds - of garbage last year.
But with continued efforts to compact the piles of unwanted items and through recycling, workers have extended the life of the landfill near Mound House for up to 30 years.
"We are taking every step possible to further extend the life of the landfill and minimize the impact to future generations," said Ken Arnold, environmental manager.
Before Carson City took over operations of the facility, officials expected to reach capacity at the site in nine to 12 years.
In a report detailing landfill operations from July 2002 to June 2003, the city found compacting activities had met twice the expected density.
Residents have also been doing their part in keeping materials out of the landfill through curbside recycling. Workers collected 5,339 tons of cardboard, newspaper, bottles and other recyclables. That included 2,243 tons of cardboard and 1,806 tons of newspaper.
Overall, with industrial and commercial recycling, the city removed 21 percent of garbage out of the landfill.
"The state average is 16 percent, so it's good," Arnold said.
Carson customers pay $1 a month for the curbside recycling program, whether they use it or not. Special bins can be requested through Capital Sanitation.
City landfill management is looking at ways to plan for the future of the facility. One of the ways to extend the time the city will be able to use the site is by removing more materials, like wood, and use it for other purposes.
An agreement with the Bureau of Land Management is allowing the city to now use 155 acres adjacent to the landfill for storing wood and other materials that can be processed and sold or turned into other products. The city will begin stockpiling wood and start chipping it into usable products, Arnold said.
A master plan for the site is in the works and will look at several ways to use space wisely, Arnold said.
"Once that site's filled up, Carson City waste will more than likely have to be transported to an off-site landfill via a transfer station at a greatly increased cost to community," Arnold said.
Contact Jill Lufrano at email@example.com or 881-1217.