CATSKILL — Greene County is working on creating its first new Solid Waste Management Plan since 1993.
“The goal, or the purpose, of the Solid Waste Management Plan is to identify Greene County’s solid waste management path for the next 10 years, including composting, recycling and solid waste,” Senior Project Manager Luann Meyer from Barton & LoGuidice told the county Legislature at a public hearing Wednesday.
The plan is designed to provide a countywide framework for the coordination of solid waste management, Meyer said.
The most recent plan for the county is dated April 1993, she said.
“Historically, those plans were prepared at the time when recycling became law and the New York State Legislature required local governments to put together a local Solid Waste Management Plan for the goals and objectives for the next 20 years,” Meyer said.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation requires municipalities to submit their plans every 10 years.
The plan is expected to be adjusted as the county’s needs change.
“This is supposed to be a living, breathing document that will be reviewed over the course of the 10 years,” Meyer said. “Should changes happen, they can be made.”
Since the county’s original 1993 plan, officials have submitted compliance reports to the DEC every two years, Meyer said.
Included in the plan are 14 implementation tasks including promoting solid waste reduction plans and reuse programs, expanding the types of materials local transfer stations can accept, increasing recylcing at county facilities, supporting composting efforts, improving public outreach and education, reviewing the county’s recycling law and more.
One of the most immediate changes the county is looking to implement is creating a composting program that could significantly reduce the county’s solid waste, Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said.
Composting is the recycling of organic matter such as leaves and food scraps, which can be used as fertilizer, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council website.
“We want to reduce the amount of solid waste that we send to a landfill,” Linger said. “We have been working on it for about a year now.”
The county does not compost organic materials at this time.
“But we are planning to do it this year,” Linger said. “It will be part of the 10-year plan, but we are looking to start it this year.”
A large concrete slab would be installed next to the trailers at the county’s transfer stations where composting materials would be deposited. The materials would be mixed with wood chips, which create air pockets inside the piles of discarded organic materials and breaks it down into compost, Linger said.
The compost can then be sold or given to county residents for use as fertilizer in gardens and farms, Linger said.
“Instead of sending that tonnage to a landfill, we could potentially cut it by a third,” Linger said.
When the public comment period on the Solid Waste Management Plan concludes this summer, the county will make any necessary changes to the plan and submit it to the state DEC for approval.
Public comment on the plan can be submitted through July 3 to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to Paul Vosburgh, Greene County Director of Solid Waste, P.O. Box 485, Catskill, NY 12414.