The municipal landfill at Hatch Hill in Augusta will likely be full in five years, prompting the city to consider whether to pile the trash higher, ship it out of the city or find another solution. The regional facility, which serves eight surrounding towns in addition to Augusta, sits on 450 acres on the outskirts of the city. “We’re working on a solution,” said Augusta Public Works Director Lesley Jones. “We’re not in a crisis situation. It’s just time to get moving on it.”

The possible ripple effect on other cities and towns that pay to have their trash dumped at Hatch Hill is already prompting at least one city to consider alternatives. Gardiner is reactivating a committee to consider whether there might be another facility able to take their trash, if the city can do something locally or whether Gardiner residents can help extend the life of Hatch Hill, said interim City Manager Anne Davis. “There’s not a lot of options,” she said. “It’s not just Hatch Hill. It’s a problem throughout the state and the country.”

That was the conclusion of a September report released by U.S. Public Interest Research Group that found the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a setback for waste reduction efforts across the country. “The pandemic turned the world upside-down and trampled waste reduction efforts,” said Alex Truelove, co-author of the report called Trash in America. “For a time, single-use plastic shopping bags returned to supermarkets and disposable takeout food containers and packaging from online shopping flooded the waste stream.”

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Author: Susan Cover, Spectrum News, Bangor Daily 
Susan Cover, Spectrum News, Bangor Daily News