|As part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Capital for a Day in Central New York, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today announced several initiatives designed to address challenges local governments face in their solid waste management efforts.
DEC officials, leaders in local government and key stakeholders met to discuss ways to improve materials management during a tour of Madison County's impressive landfill operations. During the discussion, local officials and community leaders spoke about the pressing needs to increase recycling rates and to capture food scraps for the hungry. In response to these concerns, participants discussed opportunities to achieve efficiencies through inter-county cooperation, coordination with SUNY to use a planned anaerobic digester in Morrisville and enabling farmers and food banks to use food that otherwise would be wasted.
Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman said, "Implementing a comprehensive solid waste management program is a significant undertaking for local governments. Thoughtful planning and strategic investment of limited available capital funding is critical to managing large volumes of waste in the most sustainable way. DEC has assisted counties, planning units and others in designing and implementing these programs, both financially and through technical assistance. We will continue to provide support to our colleagues in local government to identify areas where they can work together to achieve maximum efficiencies."
Although New York State has developed some of the best solid waste management infrastructure in the nation, municipalities have moved forward in different directions and at varying speeds to recycle and manage their waste streams. Counties could benefit and learn from each other by sharing experiences from establishing existing programs and facilities when possible and coordinate operations to achieve efficiencies.
Key announcements include:
- Initiate solid waste management regulatory changes to promote and fund projects which help implement inter-municipal cooperation and efficiencies in solid waste management.
- Provide $200,000 for Cortland County to enhance its recycling operations and increase recycling rates throughout the county.
- Provide $150,000 in grants for agricultural waste collection programs in Madison County and surrounding counties to increase recycling and provide cost savings for farmers and municipalities.
- Establish a Pollution Prevention Institute project to promote organics diversion in the Central New York Region by analyzing the waste streams of large food scrap generators including grocery stores, hospitality centers, colleges and universities and hospitals.
One of DEC's many roles is to protect New York State's environment and the health of its citizens through innovative, rational and reasonable management of solid waste and provides for sustainable economic development that is responsive to environmental concerns.
DEC regulates and monitors solid and hazardous waste facilities and generators of hazardous waste; controls disposal of radioactive materials; and promotes sound management of wastes by communities, businesses and industries.
For more information on New York State's Materials Management Programs, visit DEC's website.