Disposing Of Our Waste

When I first started getting familiar with Maine’s statutes governing how we dispose of our waste, I was truly impressed to see that the Maine Legislature had already set out a waste hierarchy. It spent some time several years ago saying that the priorities ought to be reduce, reuse, recycle, compost, waste to energy, and, as a last resort, landfill. We have few landfills left and they’re fast filling up. In the part of the state where the population is heaviest they are scarce. In a few short years they will be full. Waste to energy facilities are going to run out of money soon. (One already has in terms of subsidies received under government legislation which encouraged making electricity out of burning trash.)

The Maine Legislature needs to make the same sensible decisions it made before with the pending legislation designed to have funding monies go to the municipalities. I was surprised when we did a poll and found that only 5% plus of Maine people polled in a very solid poll want to put their trash in a landfill. They’d like it to go to waste to energy; they’d like it to go to recycling; anywhere but a landfill where stuff never dies. We had a great opportunity to take a look at that during this session of the Legislature and make those decisions which will serve Maine well in the long term, because it really is a pay me now or pay me later situation.