A composting company’s plans to move to a Lithonia quarry got shot down by a group of residents that advises the county’s Board of Commissioners.
The District 5 Community Council, which provides recommendations on applications for amending the county’s comprehensive plan, rezoning, special land use permits and zoning code text amendments, voted 6-0 against Greenco on Feb. 13.
Greenco Environmental plans to move its composting operation from Barnesville, to unincorporated Lithonia, where it would set up its operations 150 feet below ground level in an old rock quarry on Rock Mountain Road.
Greenco collects food waste from schools, restaurants, hotels, manufacturers and grocery stores to divert the food waste from the landfill.
Through a 90-day process, the food waste is combined with yard waste to create organic compost which is sold in bulk to farmers and manufacturers of bagged garden products.
Last year, Greenco composted four million pounds of food waste from DeKalb County customers, according to the company’s president, Tim Lesko.
“Greenco is continuing with its application and will work to help local residents better understand what we do and how it’s a great thing for the environment.
Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson said “more information is needed about the actual process.”
“We need to have some information so that we can evaluate the environmental impact on people’s health,” Jackson said. “The concept of composting and keeping things out of the landfill is a good one.”
Despite the community council’s recommendation, Greenco could still move to Lithonia if its plan is approved by the planning and zoning commission and the Board of Commissioners.
Greenco is the second sustainable company that is trying to open in the Lithonia area and both have met with local resistance.
The other company, Green Energy Partners, is seeking to construct a $60 million plant to convert yard waste into renewable natural gas using a process pyrolysis in which yard trimmings are placed in oxygen-free chambers. The chambers are then heated to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit with natural gas burners to produce syngas, which is turned into renewable natural gas (RNG).
The Development Authority of DeKalb approved a resolution on Feb. 14 declaring its intent to issue a $25 million bond to help Green Energy Partners get started.
Green Energy Partners withdrew its permit application for the proposed gasification plant after the Georgia Environmental Protection Division requested additional information on the process to be used.
“I’m very concerned whether the Development Authority has done any due diligence on the Green Energy project,” Jackson said. “The issues the Georgia EPD raised…are still unanswered.
“It would seem that they would want to have more information than they have,” Jackson said.