The goal of this report is to provide Whiting Farm in Auburn, Maine with an analysis of options and resources that will help the farm to make informed decisions for the removal and disposal of both existing and future waste, with a specific focus on recycling. Whiting Farm has never had an on-site waste disposal system. As a result, they have accumulated large amounts of agricultural plastic, which is stored mostly outside in three forested areas around the farm. Dealing with this waste is key in implementing the farm’s goals of environmental and economic sustainability, as well as functioning as an educational model for youth and other farmers. In collaboration with Kim Finnerty, Whiting Farm’s Manager, we have created this resource to inform waste removal and the development of a recycling system in order to mitigate future waste buildup.
We first compare different options, given commercial infrastructure, for both the removal and disposal of the existing waste. We considered factors such as cost, environmental effects, and feasibility. We conclude that working with Casella Waste Management will be instrumental towards achieving these goals given Casella’s convenience, dumpster rental and waste disposal rates, and recycling capacity. We also discuss options for generating income by selling the metal, large machinery, and cardboard, which have also accumulated on the farm.
The information gathered in determining the best removal and disposal methods for existing waste informed our recommendations for a system to recycle future waste, both compostable and non-compostable. Given a lack of local commercial options and innovative technology in the field of agricultural recycling, recommendations for a future system were limited to suggestions regarding commercial partners, dumpster locations, and a list of Whiting Farm’s recyclable waste. Additionally, options are given for compostable waste recycling, keeping in mind the specific practices of Whiting Farm.
Our report presents these practical recommendations in the main body, but much of this research was informed and influenced by additional information compiled in Appendices. Among topics considered are rationale for removal of existing waste, barriers to recycling agricultural waste, and case studies referring to other farms’ disposal practices. Additionally, contacts for waste removal and disposal, model farms, as well as academics in the field of agricultural recycling are provided for future reference. This report aims to provide helpful and succinct recommendations for the implementation of a waste disposal system that is in line with Whiting Farm’s practical needs, vision of environmental sustainability, and educational goals.
Baker, Ruthie; Clark, Britta; Coleman, Annie; and Sevilla, Nina, "Waste Disposal at Whiting Farm: Recommendations for Current Waste Removal and Future Recycling Systems" (2015). Community Engaged Research Reports. 24.