The State of Maine Waste Hierarchy prioritizes waste management practices from best to worst, as follows:
REDUCE: Best thing you can do about waste is not to have so much of it in the first place.
RE-USE: Example: Carry a set of utensils with you, or in your car, and you won’t need that plastic fork or spoon.
RECYCLE: Notice that this isn’t the top rung. Recycling is good, but reduce and re-use are better.
COMPOST: Organic waste represents 40% of our waste stream in Maine.
BENEFICIAL USE: This is a relatively new category, and refers to processing that reduces the volume of materials directed to a landfill. Beneficial use encompasses the reuse of solid waste as a substitute for raw material in manufacturing, as construction material or fill, as a fuel, as landfill cover, or as an agronomic soil amendment.
WASTE TO ENERGY: Incineration of trash with the production of electricity as by-product.
LANDFILL: Least desirable option
Businesses on MDI can join the Sustainable MDI program. This is a voluntary program where businesses pledge to implement sustainable practices, and in turn receive a Sustainable MDI decal for display at their place of business. Reducing waste has been a key goal for the Sustainable MDI businesses. Click on the website above for contact information, the pledge list of sustainable practices, and the list of participating businesses.