- Ontario County, NY has begun outlining new steps to reach its goal of 60% landfill diversion over the next 10 years as part of a new Solid Waste Management Plan. County facilities currently divert about 40% of their waste and will be a top focus this year, as reported by the Finger Lakes Times.
- Casella Waste Systems operates the Ontario County Landfill and recently helped with the process by conducting a waste audit at county facilities. The company estimated that about 30% of the waste was recyclable, and about 15% of the county's waste was paper which could be recycled.
- County employees known as "Eco Heroes" are working to raise awareness within their own departments and throughout local communities. They are aiming for a 75% diversion rate from county facilities by the end of the year.
As seen with the controversial Seneca Meadows Landfill, a vocal group of residents in the region share strong anti-landfill sentiments. Some had opposed plans to expand the Ontario County Landfill but were ultimately unsuccessful. Casella will now be overseeing a 43.5-acre expansion that will add more than 10 years of capacity to the site.
The company will also be paying the county $9 million to help with its diversion efforts as part of the arrangement. Some of this money could help fund plans to look at waste diversion in other local government institutions such as schools. The local county jail has also begun its own pilot composting program.
With a growing number of high state and city diversion rate goals it is becoming more common to see government officials turning inward to improve their own practices, too. San Diego recently set a goal of 50% diversion for city departments by 2020 as part of a citywide "zero waste" push. If officials have a better understanding of how to change their recycling habits and can help demonstrate this to the public, it will only help with the larger effort.