Since 2014, when the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) enacted the Commercial Organics Disposal Ban, businesses and institutions across the state have increasingly diverted food waste. While food waste diversion leads to significant environmental benefits, it also has the potential to provide cost savings for businesses and creates opportunities to address customer and employee requests for more sustainable practices.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) collects annual data from organics haulers on the number of commercial entities in Massachusetts contracting for organics hauling services. In 2021, the number of businesses increased to 3,500. This represents a 9% increase compared to 2020, when widespread temporary business closures and a shift in waste generation impacted commercial organics diversion activity. Since 2014, the number of commercial entities contracting for organics has increased by nearly 160%.
Effective November 1, 2022, the MassDEP is lowering the threshold for the Commercial Organics Disposal Ban so that it applies to businesses and institutions generating one-half ton or more of food waste per week (it currently applies to those generating one ton or more per week). This change is anticipated to drive further food waste diversion activity and lead to an increase in businesses and institutions contracting for organics hauling in the state. Other cost-effective strategies that enable businesses to comply with the waste ban include preventing food waste at the source and partnering with food rescue organizations to donate edible surplus food.
RecyclingWorks also provides no-cost assistance to businesses and institutions to help maximize food waste diversion opportunities. Our website includes a number of tools, including guidance on collecting food scraps for composting, anaerobic digestion, or animal feed, and best practices for businesses contracting for organics hauling services. To speak with a food waste diversion expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.