City staff demonstrated Sheridan’s new landfill compactor this week, highlighting the city’s efforts to extend the life of its landfill.

Council approved the $825,464 lease-option acquisition of the TANA E380 Compactor in April. The compactor is expected to save significant space in the city landfill.

“The better compaction rate we get, the better space utilization we get in the landfill,” said city of Sheridan Utilities Director Dan Roberts.

Roberts said the city tested the new compactor before purchasing it and determined the machine is capable of compacting 30% more waste than the city’s existing compactor.

“That alone is a huge benefit,” Roberts said.

The TANA compactor is also equipped with a GPS system that will alert the operator when the machine has reached maximum compaction, Sheridan Landfill senior equipment operator Bill Wegner said.

The city has placed an added emphasis on preserving space in the city landfill this year. Space in the city landfill is limited, and though the city will not approach its limit anytime soon, it has begun implementing strategies intended to extend the life of the landfill.

In April, Roberts and council discussed several programs designed to divert more waste away from the landfill. Roberts said Sheridan currently has a 33% waste-diversion rate, which places the city roughly in line with the national average.

Roberts suggested the city could increase that rate to nearly 50%, however, by implementing a package of waste management programs over a five-year period.

Achieving that goal, though, would cost the city $280,000 annually for those five years, a $240,000 thereafter.

The city has not committed to implementing the full package of programs, but it has launched two pilot programs aimed at improving the city’s waste diversion rate.

The first is a “pay-as-you-throw” program, which charges residents based on how much trash they throw away. In other words, the residents’ waste collection bills would be calculated similarly to how water and electricity bills are calculated.

The program is designed to incentivize residents to recycle, thereby reducing the amount of solid waste sent to the landfill.

Council has allocated $75,000 to the pilot pay-as-you-throw program, which will be tested among 300 residential homes and 25 businesses in the city. The program has not been rolled out yet, but city staff plans on monitoring the pilot program for six months and evaluating whether to expand the program at that time.

The city has also launched a pilot organics collection program, which is focused on increasing recycling of food waste.

The city plans to enroll 25 businesses in the pilot program with a focus on restaurant and grocery stores.

Roberts said city staff will collect statistics on both programs and present them to council at a meeting in fall or winter.