Transition from linear waste streams to innovative reuse of materials Most communities in the North Country Region are undergoing a transformation in how they perceive, manage, and dispose of their unwanted material. What was once considered just waste, which required collection, transportation, and disposal for a fee in a landfill, has now become the raw material for other uses, with opportunities for re-use, sales, job creation, and cost savings. While not a new idea, this change in perception is supported by the 2010 NYSDEC materials management strategy, Beyond Waste. Developed by subject matter experts, including the region’s Solid Waste Planning Units, officials, and stakeholders, Beyond Waste presents a comprehensive strategy for achieving sustainable goals and targets in New York State. As in Beyond Waste, this Plan also uses the terms “materials” and “materials management” in place of “waste” and “waste management” when referring to activities at the upper end of the hierarchy such as; reduction, reuse, recycling. The term “disposal” includes municipal waste combustion, landfilling, and export for ultimate disposal. Materials are not waste until they are destined for a landfill or municipal waste combustor. (NYSDEC 2010a)
The region’s materials and solid waste management initiatives are led by its Solid Waste Planning Units. A Planning Unit may have one or several counties within its jurisdiction and is responsible for providing oversight and guidance, and in some cases, management, for solid waste facilities and programs. Each Planning Unit is obligated by the State to develop and follow a Local Solid Waste Management Plan (LSWMP) specifically to address the waste management needs and trends within their constituency. This sustainability plan encourages transforming the concept of “waste” that needs landfilling, into the concept of materials that can be utilized for economic development. Reductions in natural resource consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are added benefits that accompany the transition of waste into useable materials.
North Country Region Sustainability Plan