DEP provides guidance to municipalities regarding recycling and transfer station operations

April 10, 2020

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842

AUGUSTA, MAINE, April 10, 2020 - On March 26, 2020, Governor Janet Mills issued Executive Order 24: An Order Regarding Recycling and Solid Waste Facility Operating Hours Enforced by the Department of Environmental Protection. Executive Order 24 provides additional flexibility to solid waste facilities and municipalities managing their communities' solid wastes. Solid waste facilities are diligently working to meet social distancing requirements and to minimize any unnecessary contact their employees have with wastes and recyclable material. This Order was issued to address concerns from municipalities about sorting recyclable materials at local transfer stations and to allow facilities to adjust their operating hours to effectively process wastes while protecting their employees.

Maine law requires municipalities to provide for the disposal of domestic and commercial wastes generated in their community and establishes a goal for municipalities to recycle at least 50% of those wastes. This Order provides flexibility for towns to maintain their recycling programs without turning citizens away during this public health crisis. The Governors Executive Order gives towns additional options to meet their recycling goals by enabling them to count the recyclables they send to waste-to-energy facilities as recycled until January 1, 2021. It is not necessary to bury recyclable material in landfills to protect workers and citizens from COVID-19; Maine has a variety of businesses that can safely handle our wastes and convert it into energy instead. Executive Order 24 does not restrict these activities - it expands options for solid waste management to ensure that towns and facilities can safely meet citizens needs for waste management during the COVID-19 pandemic.