DEC rules would aim to send less trash to landfills

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New regulations drafted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation this week would reduce the amount of solid waste that ends up in landfills and increase the amount that gets repurposed, according to DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos in an announcement on Wednesday. The proposal also ties back to climate change and general improvements to air and water quality.

“Solid waste is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases and continuously enhancing waste management practices plays a key role in New York’s efforts to address climate change,” Commissioner Seggos said. “With these draft regulations, DEC is advancing policies that will reduce waste at its source and prevent waste from heading to our landfills. Effective waste management is an ongoing and evolving task, but it’s one that New York is prepared to meet head-on as we advance our ongoing efforts to support cleaner and healthier communities and protect our natural resources statewide.”

The DEC’s list of proposed changes includes:

  • Restrictions on composting and mulching at certain types of facilities;
  • Prohibiting mines on Long Island from using construction and demolition debris processing facilities;
  • Enhancing New York State’s system for Beneficial Use Determinations governing reuse of materials;
  • Clarification of the descriptions and classifications of fill materials and excavation materials;
  • Limitations to the use of excavated material types in Long Island, Westchester County, and the NYC area watershed;
  • Adding more exemptions statewide for municipalities collecting source-separated recyclables;
  • Making changes to facilitate communities that hold collection events to collect household hazardous waste items;
  • Improved landfill liner requirements, enhancing the protection of groundwater;
  • New control measures for odors and landfill gas emissions; and
  • Adding new requirements for the safe transport of excavated material.

The proposed rules link up with existing state efforts to reduce waste. Recent related measures include regulations to reduce electronic waste and polystyrene foam use, as well as the statewide plastic bag ban.

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