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Bill Would Require Local Waste Management Plans

A state Assemblyman wants local governments to find ways to keep waste out of landfills at the same time the recycling market is sending more and more waste to landfills.

Assemblyman Harvey Epstein, D-New York City, recently introduced A.9684 which would amend the state Environmental Conservation Law to require local governments to prepare solid waste management plans to show how they are keeping as much waste as possible out of landfills. The legislation has not been proposed in the past.

“Municipalities are responsible for the development of plans to meet the state’s policy to reduce the amount of waste generated, reuse material if possible, recycle, and compost,” Epstein wrote in his legislative justification. “New York state generates some 14 million tons of waste per year, roughly half of which is sent to approximately 30 landfills across the state. Recycling and composting are essential tools for the diversion of waste from landfills, which produce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. This legislation ensures that municipalities are considering how to increase recycling and composting in their local solid waste management plans.”

While Epstein wants municipalities to do more to keep waste out of landfills, recycling has been a struggle in Jamestown after new rules went into effect limiting the types of refuse that will be accepted by China and India. Jamestown implemented single-commodity recycling late last year in response to a Chinese policy restricting the importing of foreign recyclables. The Chinese government stopped accepting 24 types of recyclables, including plastic and mixed paper, while also no longer accepting recyclables with a contamination rate of greater than .5 percent, a level that American companies say is nearly impossible to meet.

No vendor accepts glass recyclables in the area, but the BPU receives support from the county for glass. BPU officials told The Post-Journal late in 2018 that no vendors would accept glass, but the Chautauqua County Landfill was crushing the BPU’s glass and using it between layers of garbage at the landfill much as it would use gravel.

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