Summit County staffers have been working on a long-term plan for managing solid waste and will be presenting the proposal to the County Council on Wednesday.

Last year, staffers were charged with re-working the county’s solid waste management plan that was developed and adopted in 2008 to include more realistic ways to divert waste from the Three Mile Landfill and encourage environmentally sustainable practices such as recycling and composting.

Officials estimate that the landfill, which is located near Rockport Reservoir, only has enough space to accept waste for about 35 more years.
This is the last year for the existing landfill cell and, in the fall, the county plans on transitioning to a new lined facility for the remaining

“We started this plan knowing that in 35 years we will run out of space and that time could be shorter,” said Derrick Radke, Summit County’s public
works director. “We have to make choices. The purpose of the plan is to guide us in a different direction and determine what we can do to reduce
waste or extend the life of the landfill.”

Summit County’s integrated solid waste program consists of a municipal solid waste landfill ‹ Three Mile Landfill ‹ countywide curbside residential solid waste and recycling collection, including several central dumpster service areas where residences are remote and widely spaced, a household hazardous waste exclusion program and a public education program, according to a county staff report.

The updated draft of the plan includes goals for diverting solid waste, such as reaching a 15 percent reduction of waste going to the landfill by the end of 2023 and 30 percent by the end of 2028. It addresses the creation of various programs, such as the commercial cardboard waste diversion and commercial compositing pilot programs, as well as the identification and designation of a property for a county recycling transfer facility and
warehouse for solid waste partners.

“The way we describe it is we have time on our side,” said Janna Young, Summit County’s deputy county manager. “This is the perfect opportunity to start planning what the vision is and how we manage solid waste in the county. Additionally, siting a new landfill is very expensive so this is a
good time to begin thinking about funding and planning for that.”

The plan covers current service obligations to maintain programs already in place, development of a landfill with additional cells that will meet state
and federal requirements, as well as short- and long-term initiatives.”We are even looking at creating an ordinance that would require the
commercial sector to recycle,” Young said. “We are considering building a recycling center that will help us on costs and allow (waste management
company) Republic Services to maintain fleets of trucks here.”

Execution of the plan will require community partners to engage in the educational programs and the residents to make behavioral changes, Young
said. She added, “This is about Republic Services coming to your house and  picking up the trash you generate in your kitchen, bathroom and yard every week.”

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