The mound of trash is piled four stories high, filling one of the bays at the city of Spokane’s Waste-to-Energy Plant.
The bulging garbage bags, tattered textiles, discarded food, and broken furniture and toys represent about four days’ worth of trash from Spokane-area residents.
“I think a lot of people put it out at the curb and forget about it,” said Gina Dempsey, the plant’s manager. The garbage ends up at a West Plains incinerator, where it’s burned to produce electricity.
City officials say the Waste-to-Energy Plant performs a valuable service, consuming 800 tons of trash daily and generating enough electricity to power 13,000 homes. But Spokane’s Waste-to-Energy Plant also has a darker side: It’s one of Washington’s top emitters of greenhouse gases.