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What’s inside NY’s final solid waste management plan? DEC officials talk impact of next decade

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced the release of the final 2023-2032 New York State Solid Waste Management Plan, titled “Building the Circular Economy through Sustainable Materials Management.”

This 10-year strategy aims to revolutionize waste management in New York, focusing on waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and addressing climate-altering emissions from waste. The plan, which updates and builds upon the 2010 “Beyond Waste” strategy, sets a clear direction for the state’s waste management policies, investments, and practices over the next decade.

It emphasizes reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and advancing more sustainable solid waste management practices, aligning with New York’s commitment to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Solid Waste Management Plan outlines six key areas: Waste Reduction and Reuse, Recycling and Market Development, Product Stewardship, Organics Reduction and Recycling, Toxics Reduction in Products, and Advanced Solid Waste Management Facility Design.

DEC has already initiated actions in line with the plan, including awarding nearly $2.9 million in grants to municipalities for food scrap recycling programs, with a focus on serving communities in Potential Environmental Justice Areas. Additionally, nearly $2.2 million was allocated to emergency food relief organizations, supporting over two million New Yorkers facing hunger.

Further, DEC received funding from the U.S. EPA to improve online reporting for solid waste management, enhancing data reporting and compliance. These initiatives, part of a broader effort to achieve an 85% waste stream recycling rate by 2050, demonstrate DEC’s commitment to a more sustainable, circular economy. The final plan, shaped by feedback from a diverse range of stakeholders, reflects the DEC’s dedication to collaborative, informed policy-making in solid waste management.