Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2015


The current Solid Waste Management Hierarchy does not adequately deter land disposal of waste in Maine. In this paper, I analyze the Maine State Solid Waste Management Hierarchy as it reads in Title 38 M.R.S.A. § 2101, found in Appendix B. The purpose of this paper is to address the hierarchy’s issues, as well as to offer additions to the hierarchy that will help in its goal of reducing solid waste landfilled. In this paper I analyze the original intentions of the hierarchy when it was enacted, and addresses the faults within the hierarchy that do not aid these intentions in their realization. Utilizing both a recent case involving the Municipal Review Committee’s desire for a new landfill in the State of Maine as well as survey results pertaining to current state municipal solid waste policies, the failure of the hierarchy to call for adherence is demonstrated. In this paper I recommend a framework that the government should utilize to (a) construct a “landfill tax” to implement as part of the hierarchy, (b) create a landfill credit system to incentivize landfill operators to implement extra diversion efforts, and (c) utilize the funds gathered from the landfill tax to give aid to municipalities to strengthen their local recycling and diversion efforts. This recommendation is only the very first step in the process of enacting change, and the paper identifies some of the next actions that would need to occur.