On MSW in general and NYS goals:

There are many components of solid waste. Municipal solid waste (MSW) consists of everyday items used in our homes, schools and workplaces, such as product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, and batteries. Solid waste also includes construction and demolition (C&D) debris, sludges from water and wastewater treatment facilities, and non-hazardous industrial wastes resulting from manufacturing and industrial processes. There are formal definitions of solid waste which are included in both federal and state laws and regulations. In some cases, these definitions include hazardous materials. For purposes of this plan, however, the focus is on the management of non-hazardous solid waste.

Since 1988, New York State has had an established policy with a preferential waste management hierarchy of reduction, reuse, recycling, and energy recovery, with landfill disposal as the method of last resort. Much progress has been made since that time in advancing these preferred waste management methods as well in
making landfill disposal more protective of the environment. Yet, 20 years after these policies were established, an estimated 56 percent of the solid waste generated in the state are delivered to landfills, and only 36 percent was recycled (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [NYSDEC], 2010).
In 2010, NYS DEC established a new state-wide solid waste management plan with a new approach, as follows:

“…a shift from focusing on ‘end‐of‐the‐pipe’ waste management techniques to looking ‘upstream’ and more comprehensively at how materials that would otherwise become waste can be more sustainably managed through the state’s economy. This shift is central to the state’s ability to adapt to an age of growing pressure to reduce demand for energy, reduce dependence on disposal, minimize emission of greenhouse gases and create green jobs.” (NYSDEC, 2010)

Following NYSDEC’s lead on this new materials management approach, this Sustainability Plan focuses on finding ways to more effectively manage our materials to reduce waste, recover resources and energy, and minimize disposal. [11]

Material like food scraps and plant clippings that go into landfills take up costly space and decompose to form methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

More on NYS MSW Management hierarchy:

New York State has established solid waste management policy objectives under a “preferred hierarchy” that is generally described as follows (in order of descending preferences):
  • First, to reduce the amount of waste generated within New York State.
  • Second, to reuse material for the purpose for which it was originally intended or recycle material that cannot be reused (composting is considered a form of recycling).
  • Third, to recover, in an environmentally acceptable manner, energy from solid waste that cannot be economically and technically reused or recycled.
  • Fourth, to dispose of solid waste that is not being reused or recycled, or from which energy is not being recovered, by land burial or other methods approved by the NYSDEC. [16]

It is the responsibility of the City of Troy is to provide its constituency with a comprehensive program for managing solid waste, which is consistent with New York State’s hierarchy for solid waste management, in an economically sound and environmentally safe manner. This is also consistent with The Climate Smart Communities pledge.

"Solid waste is broadly defined as materials that have been used for their intended purpose and no longer have value to the owner. Sustainability in solid waste creates systems to reduce waste, recover resources and energy, and minimize waste disposal." [11]