Shelby Wright: In-state debris recycling needs ‘serious discussion’

With the introduction of LD 1639, “An Act To Protect the Health and Welfare of Maine Communities and Reduce Harmful Solid Waste,” the future of construction and demolition debris recycling in Maine has been brought to the forefront, and that future is grim.

To focus just on “out-of-state” CDD waste, as LD 1639 does, means we are missing the bigger picture of the environmental impact Maine’s own waste is having on a larger scale.

Currently, Maine’s CDD recycling facilities only process a fraction of CDD generated in-state. Casella agrees it’s time to have a serious discussion about how we can recycle more in-state generated CDD waste and ultimately beneficially reuse materials recovered from it.

But, in its efforts to eliminate some out-of-state waste, LD 1639 removes CDD recycling mandates, puts over 75 people out of a job, closes a necessary recycling facility and, in doing so, ensures that no in-state CDD gets recycled. Grim, indeed.

In the bigger picture, the fight against CDD coming into Maine for processing and recycling is going after low-hanging fruit when the tree is rotten.

A genuine environmental vision instead calls us to develop more infrastructure in Maine to process and recycle the hundreds of thousands of tons of in-state generated CDD waste that is currently being landfilled raw when beneficial uses are available for that material if it were processed and recycled.

Shelby Wright, Hampden, Eastern Region manager of engagement, Casella

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