Wolf administration releases first-ever waste action plan, calls for action statewide



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Governor Tom Wolf, Secretaries of State for the Departments of Transport and Environmental Protection, Representative Mike Sturla and Lancaster City Mayor Danene Sorace joined other parties today government and community stakeholders to highlight innovative local anti-waste measures and called for action to tackle Pennsylvania waste. problem at all levels throughout the state.

The Wolf Administration released the very first State Action Plan on Waste (PDF) – which reflects the work of over 100 stakeholders from state and local governments, businesses, the legislature, and more. over 500 million litter strewn across the Commonwealth.

“Pennsylvania is a great place to live, work and raise a family. It is a beautiful state with breathtaking landscapes and abundant natural resources. But, we have a litter problem, ”Governor Wolf said. “Waste is bad for the environment and our communities, it is a drain on taxpayers’ money. Today, I am delighted to unveil a solution that all 13 million Pennsylvanians can be a part of – a plan for a cleaner Commonwealth.

Demonstrating the cost of waste to communities and the Commonwealth, PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian noted that the agency’s $ 14 million annual cost to clean up waste makes waste prevention particularly important.

“We recognize that we need to change behavior, not just clean up the mess,” Gramian said. “With this Commonwealth Action Plan on Waste, we have provided examples, resources and calls to action so that we can make transformative change here in Pennsylvania.”

DEP has funded “Pick Up Pennsylvania” community waste cleanup and illegal landfill cleanup for more than two decades, helping volunteers remove tons of garbage from the land and water. As the waste persisted, DEP sponsored with PennDOT the first comprehensive state study to inform the development of the waste action plan, with a focus on changing waste behavior.

“DEP is committed to assisting the statewide transition to litter prevention,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “If we bring the same energy to the waste prevention initiatives that thousands of volunteers have brought to cleaning up the garbage in their communities, we will take a turn for the garbage problem in Pennsylvania. And we will reap the community and economic benefits of a healthier environment.

In addition to examples and suggestions for the General Assembly, local governments, businesses and the public, the report presents 16 recommendations for the Commonwealth. Here are examples of actions taken by state agencies to support the plan’s higher-level recommendations:

  • PennDOT, the Department of Community and Economic Development and DEP are collaborating on an anti-waste campaign slated for spring 2022.
  • PennDOT analysis to find out where and how to ensure the right waste reduction tools are in place at its public facilities.
  • DEP is currently working on new regulations to provide convenient and affordable access to waste disposal and recycling services in rural Pennsylvania, where garbage collection and recycling services are currently not economically feasible.
  • The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is complementing its ‘Leave No Trace’ program by working to update their concessionaire agreements to include language aimed at tackling waste, such as requiring food suppliers that they minimize the use of paper straw and disposable utensils. And when on-site composting is available in a national park, concessionaires will need to work with DCNR to convert as much of their catering products into compostable paper-based alternative forest products and then compost them along with food waste.
  • State Police continue Operation Clean Sweep, which was launched this summer and reinforces a zero-tolerance mindset with waste enforcement, while sharing anti-waste messages throughout the year . This complements their help in enforcing the anti-waste corridors which, under a 2018 law, can be designated by the department and local governments to tackle waste.
  • Examination by the Ministry of Education of the possibilities of further integrating the anti-waste curriculum into its environmental programming standards.
  • Pilot projects of the Fish and Boat Commission, in coordination with the DCNR, to correctly lay out fishing lines.

“The residents of Lancaster and I recognize the importance of beautification in our community,” said Representative Sturla. “We are implementing various innovative approaches to achieve this goal, especially in significantly reducing waste. Lancaster will continue to be a shining example of a city that respects and nurtures its environment.

The plan’s working groups included 17 participants from local governments and among the group’s recommendations for local governments is the suggestion to “be creative with the maintenance of public waste management infrastructure”. The plan and media event featured the Town of Lancaster’s Tiny Can Project, which installs ‘little cans’ (trash cans) every few houses on both sides of the street for an entire city block in three target areas. . Residents who have a “small container” in front of their house will be responsible for emptying the bins on the day of the bins and will dispose of them with their regular garbage collection.

“Innovative solutions like the Tiny Can project in South East Lancaster will help us build community pride and strengthen our neighborhoods, block by block,” said Mayor Sorace. “We thank the Wolf administration for its leadership on this quality of life issue and are happy to do our part to meet this challenge in Lancaster City.”

Participants at the event discussed the need for action at all levels statewide to tackle waste as a cost and quality of life issue. The plan’s recommendations for the General Assembly include several proposed changes to existing laws and three proposed new laws. Recommendations for business and the public will be continually shared by working group participants in the future.

DEP identifies many ways Pennsylvanians can be litter-proof at www.dep.pa.gov/litter.

PennDOT provides trash information and many other garbage cleanup volunteer opportunities, including Adopt-A-Highway, Litter Brigades, and more on its Roadside Beautification page.

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