Why New York Needs a Waste Management Plan

A waste management plan is a document that lists the types of waste you generate, how it’s handled and disposed of during construction or renovation projects, and the steps taken to lower the amount of waste generated. These documents are often required by larger contractors for large-scale projects and may be used to help prevent the creation of hazardous waste, such as asbestos, during demolition or land clearing activities.

A waste reduction plan is a set of goals and policies that help businesses and organizations reduce the amount of materials they use and throw away, such as paper, plastic, and metal. It can also include plans for recycling, reuse, and recovery, and how to increase diversion rates from landfills and incinerators. A waste reduction plan is an important part of any business or organization’s environmental sustainability strategy.

In addition to reducing the amount of material that is sent to landfills or incinerators, a waste management plan can also improve a company’s reputation and profitability by helping to reduce or eliminate the need for costly disposal fees. These fees are charged by waste collection companies and municipal landfills for the cost of hauling, processing, and disposing of waste materials that would otherwise be discarded as garbage.

In New York City, the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) of 2006 set ambitious recycling and diversion goals for the boroughs. These goals, based on waste characterization studies and growth projections, aimed to achieve a high rate of diversion by recycling nondesignated (refuse and MGP) and designated (paper and plastic) wastes from the overall waste stream, while boosting the city’s landfill diversion rate from 16 percent in 2005 to 25 percent in 2007, 28 percent in 2015, and 35 percent in 2026.

Unfortunately, DSNY is not on track to meet these goals. In fact, the city’s recycling rate is now trailing both the SWMP projection of 17 percent in 2016, and the Local Law 40 goal of 30 percent in 2016.

The reason behind the underperformance lies with the changing composition of the waste stream. Specifically, the rise of mixed waste streams has made it more difficult to meet targeted diversion rates.

For example, the mix of refuse and MGP in the paper recycling stream increased from 20 percent in 2005 to 7 percent in 2013. This changed the classification of the mixed waste as nondesignated, meaning it was not eligible for the city’s recycling stream.

Another challenge to achieving the SWMP’s targets was the lack of suitable landfill space. As a result, communities that hosted sanitation truck traffic experienced problems such as lowered air quality, increased traffic congestion, and odors. The SWMP addressed these issues by seeking to transfer waste for export at locations closer to where it is collected and to export waste via barge and rail instead of trucks to help lessen the impact on host communities.

St. Mary’s is a CESQG and as such, must prepare and sign a Hazardous Waste Manifest whenever it sends regulated nonhazardous or bio-hazardous waste off campus. The Manifest provides documentation for the off-site shipment of this waste, identifies the TSDF receiving the waste, and tracks where the waste is ultimately sent. Once a Waste Manifest Copy 3 is returned from the TSDF, St. Mary’s should retain copies for record keeping purposes for three (3) years.

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