Cortland Lawmakers Advance Updates to County Solid Waste Plan
Cortland County lawmakers are moving forward with updates to the local solid waste management plan. The document is required by the D-E-C to operate the landfill, the update is also required if the county advances a trash to ash partnership with Onondaga County.
Yesterday lawmakers on the legislatures' solid waste committee reviewed the the document and some of the planned modifications. The plan has not ben updates since 2009.
A large portion of the solid waste management plan deals with best management practices and focuses on ways the county can work with the community to divert more material from the waste stream and either recycle or compost it for other uses.
The plan calls for increased recycling, including making sure that all county facilities are recycling to the greatest extent possible.
There is a provision for composting organics, in the future the D-E-C is looking to see all food and organic waste be removed from the waste stream. Some communities like the City of Ithaca have started trial curbside composting programs. In Cortland County their are small organic composting programs, the D-E-C is looking for a greater effort. In addition to food waste the D-E-C wants to see yard waste kept out of the landfill as well.
Another provision in the plan calls for the county to divert construction and demolition debris from the landfill through a C&D recycling facility. In some areas not only is wood, metal and, glass recycled but asphalt roof shingles, wire and other material is separated.
The updated plan also includes provisions for increased collection of household hazardous waste, like oil based paints, pesticides, chemicals, and items containing mercury like old thermostats. Right now the county only has a once a year collection, lawmakers discussed requiring local stores to offer collection points especially stores selling compact fluorescent light bulbs which contain mercury.
The plan also would encourage the county to pass resolution calling on product manufacturers to implement smarter consumer packaging protocols.
While many of the recommendations in the plan would be costly for the county to implement, most of the programs are already in place in Onondaga. The county's waste systems operator OCCRA already has a food composting facility, yard waste recycling, C&D recycling, and household hazardous waste diversion programs. If the county moves forward with a trash to ash partnership it would also access those programs as well.
Solid Waste Chair Tom Hartnett says the plan update is a requirement whether partnership goes anywhere or not.
The county will submit the solid waste plan to the state, there will also be a public comment period for the public. The comment period will be set in May.