"Sustainability is an ever-shifting target, requiring flexibility in finding solutions."
This 2030 State of Nevada Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Strategic Plan marks a new era of materials management in Nevada. In the past, Nevada managed its materials linearly, focusing its efforts on waste disposal rather on using — or reusing — its materials to take full advantage of their value and life-cycle. Waste generation per capita has been increasing since 2012. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 4.51 pounds of municipal solid waste (MSW) was generated per person per day in the United States in 2017. Nevadans generated 6.05 pounds of MSW per person per day in 2017 — over a third more than the average U.S. citizen.
With Nevada’s population boom and an increase of waste from neighboring states destined for landfills around Nevada, the time has arrived to place sustainability at the center of materials management, re-imagining landfills as a last resort for managing smaller streams of materials at the end of their life-cycles. To combat the increase of MSW generation in Nevada, this plan identifies opportunities to divert materials originally marked for the landfill, providing incentives for recycling, reuse, waste reduction, and environmentally sound management. Where the 2017 State of Nevada Solid Waste Management Plan focused on the existing solid waste management system and trends in solid waste management, this 2030 plan outlines four goals with an invigorated focus on sustainable materials management:
Goal 1: Provide Effective and Leading Government Resources
Goal 2: Expand and Focus Education and Outreach
Goal 3: Ensure Sufficient and Environmentally Sound Disposal
Goal 4: Promote the Best and Highest Use of All Materials
As Nevada’s primary regulator of waste disposal, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP), Bureau of Sustainable Materials Management will accomplish these goals by offering technical assistance to local governments, seeking public/private partnerships, leveraging existing programs to their fullest extent, and providing grants to accelerate sustainable foundations. NDEP will rely on the engagement of the many stakeholder groups listed throughout the plan and the implementation tables. Last but not least, NDEP will offer clear guidance on how to use materials to their best and highest use while reducing the economic impact to the public and preserving and protecting Nevada’s land and wildlife.
But at the most basic level, NDEP will be an available, reliable, and effective resource for answering important questions about materials and waste in Nevada:
- Where do Nevada’s commodities and products come from?
- What materials are used to make products and commodities sold and used in Nevada?
- How are Nevada’s commodities and products made?
- How do industries and the public use materials?
What happens to Nevada’s materials when they no longer serve a clear purpose? Sustainability is an ever-shifting target, requiring flexibility in finding solutions that fit the programs that are currently having success. As such, this plan is a working document that NDEP will constantly update and revise to fit the sustainability climate of Nevada.
What is Sustainability?
In broad terms, sustainability is the ability to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations. For the purpose of this plan, sustainability refers to implementing the best and highest use of all solid waste materials to maximize the benefits of the materials and minimize the impacts on the environment.
To promote sustainable resource management while ensuring safe handling of solid and hazardous waste.
This plan will serve as a framework to guide solid waste and materials management programs and policies at the state and local levels in Nevada. It will provide guidance in terms of goals, objectives for reaching those goals, timeframes and priorities, and roles and responsibilities for implementing programs. This plan also provides guidance for local governments in developing their solid waste and materials management plans.
A Nevada where communities recognize and implement the sustainable use of all resources.
This plan was created to showcase the unique features and talents offered by Nevada’s communities, whether it’s an urban city, a popular vacation spot, or a rural community. Each has its own opportunities to manage the materials that are used in their location, and each should have the independence to manage a program that they support.