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Citizen approaches city about recycling wind turbine blades disposed in Casper landfill, seeing potential for more profits

Wind turbine blades at the landfill in Casper in 2019. (Brendan LaChance, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Casper citizen Jake Milne approached the Casper City Council on Tuesday, saying that he represents a coalition of twelve companies that are interested in finding a use for wind turbine blades that have been disposed of in the Casper Regional landfill.

Companies paying fees to dispose of wind turbine blades and motor housing generated over $600,000 in revenue for the city between May 2019 and September 2020. However, Casper Solid Waste Division Manager Cynthia Langston told the council at a recent work session that a trend toward recycling turbine blades means that the that the revenues generated by the wind turbine disposals into the landfill were likely a one-time windfall for the city.

Milne told the council that the companies he says he is working with have ideas for getting the wind turbines that are in Casper’s landfill out and having the material put toward a variety of new uses. He said that non-disclosure agreements prevented him from giving specifics about what is being proposed, but that some example ideas include turning the material into kayaks or putting the turbines to use as snow fencing.

Milne said he has been in contact with Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis’s office regarding recycling turbines that have been disposed of in the landfill.

He said that the city could potentially see some revenues by finding a way to allow the blades to be removed from the landfill for recycling and would also extend the life of the landfill by saving space.

Milne said he had spoken with City Manager Carter Napier about the request and that Napier had suggested he reach out to Advance Casper as an organization that might be able to help move the idea forward.

Napier said Tuesday that the city could also work with Advance Casper if a specific request is brought forward regarding recycling the wind turbine blades. However, without a specific proposal, he said that there isn’t much the city is able to offer.

Napier also noted that pulling things out of the landfill is not necessarily an easy process as it requires approval from the state and the Department of Environmental Quality. Nevertheless, he said that the city would be happy to see a proposal.

Milne said that he had spoken with Advance Casper CEO Justin Farley and that another potential problem with recycling the blades is a question about who owns the blades when they are sitting in the landfill, saying that in his understanding the companies paying to dispose of the blades may retain some ownership once those are in the landfill.

Mayor Ray Pacheco encouraged Milne to stay in communication with Advance Casper and the city manager’s office as the concept to recycle the blades from out of the landfill finds its footing.