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Guide to Recycling and Waste Diversion in the State of Maine

There’s a great opportunity to increase composting rates in Maine

A 2011 report published by the University of Maine found that the residential solid waste stream in Maine is composed of 43.28% organic materials and 25.57% paper products. This offers a great opportunity to increase residential composting rates in the state.

The report points out that 27.78% of the organics materials was actually compostable while other debris in this category, such as diapers and cat litter, is not. So overall, just over half of the solid waste stream is completely compostable.

The idea that residents of Maine could cut the waste stream in half is incredible. It would greatly reduce landfilling, along with helping to reduce greenhouse gases at landfills. Not to mention give you some free organic fertilizer for your lawn and garden.

Discounted composting bins are available from the Maine Resource Recovery Association (MRRA).

Burning construction and demolition (C&D) debris is legal, but with some caveats

The State of Maine allows for burning of C&D debris, but you must obtain a permit to do so. Here are a few of the rules regarding C&D burning in Maine:

  • You may only burn wood – no plastics, rubber, shingles, asbestos, insulation, cardboard, etc.
  • No treated, painted or stained wood can be burned. It releases toxic fumes.
  • The wood must be burned onsite. It cannot be brought in from different locations.
  • A permit must be obtained from the Town Forest Fire Warden, Forest Ranger, or local fire prevention official.

To haul away other types of C&D debris, call the Department of Environmental Protection at 1-800-452-1942 to find a licensed hauler in your area.

50% state recycling rate goal

The Maine legislature set a goal to achieve a 50% recycling and composting rate by 2014. It also has a goal of increasing this rate by 5% every two years thereafter.

The State hopes to accomplish these goals by promoting recycling statewide, increasing access to curbside recycling, switching most curbside recycling programs to single-stream, promoting the benefits of recycling and proposing legislation designed to increase recycling rates.

You can learn more about Maine’s solid waste rules, regulations and other information by visiting the Maine DEP website.

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