Our Region's landfills have a finite capacity. Current diversion rates are good but could be much better. In fact, according to the NY DEC, New Yorkers send 4.1 pounds of municipal solid waste (MSW) per person per day, or 0.75 tons per person per year, to disposal facilities. NYS has adopted a challenging goal to progressively reduce the amount of MSW destined for disposal to 0.6 pounds per person per day by 2030. There is also a need for special management of certain types of waste such as pharmaceuticals and household hazardous waste.
The challenge to the community is to reduce waste generated, increase utilization of current recycling programs and develop ways to add new materials to our recycling streams. Success in these areas will delay the need for future capital expenditure for new solid waste disposal capacity and increase the life of existing area landfills while conserving resources and protecting our Region's waters..
CEI has been working with local partners to minimize pharmaceutical waste from entering our local water systems. Outreach and education are aimed at institutions to prevent over-dispensing of medication and adherence to EPA guidelines for disposal of excess medication. CEI also supports and helps to coordinate pharmaceutical collection events in the Region. CEI has also been facilitating a working group to determine the feasibility of establishing food waste composting capacity in this region.
CEI is seeking funding to develop these Waste Minimization programs. With adequate funding and our proven track record of education, collaboration and informed action, CEI will:
- Educate residents, businesses and institutions about the need for action to better conserve resources and protect our waters through waste minimization, increased recycling and effective waste management, including management of hazardous wastes.
- Be a source of information about waste reduction and recycling data for our region, about available incentives, sustainable materials management and the value of Pollution Prevention audits.
- Develop its Green Business Directory to provide easy access to businesses who supply waste reduction and recycling products and services.
- Collaborate with current partners and identify new ones to develop and implement effective waste reduction and recycling projects. Current partners include the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute, Monroe County Recycling Advisory Committee, Sierra Club's Zero Waste Committee, and regional solid waste committees and agencies.