Blog Post

The Martha’s Vineyard commercial organic waste diversion program will continue after its first year as the island community attempts to develop a local and sustainable system for waste reduction.

The Vineyard Gazette details the findings and recommendations of the Island Wide Organics Feasibility Study, which began as the project of Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellow Sophie Abrams and has spun into a commercial composting pilot.

Waste management has been a challenge for Martha’s Vineyard, which has long had to ship its waste to the mainland due to lack of appropriate on-island facilities. The study estimates 10,000 to 12,000 tons of waste are shipped off-island each year, and estimates that integrating a compost facility and various community initiatives could save $286,000 annually.

The statewide Commercial Organics Waste ban prohibits any entity that produces one ton or more of organic waste (such as food or vegetation) from disposing of it in a typical solid waste facility.

According to the report, 18 island businesses meet the threshold for the waste ban, with another 10 coming close. Five local groceries and 121 restaurants were monitored for the yearlong study, and those generated 1,746 tons of waste.

Composting is one of the key strategies the report recommends moving forward. In 2016, RecyclingWorks assisted Abrams and other partners with the pilot program, “Composting on the Coast.” Through this pilot, Morning Glory Farm accepted food scraps from island restaurants for its compost process. Compost is also a revenue opportunity, as many island landscaping companies and farms import compost from the mainland for use.

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts assists businesses and institutions with recycling and food waste reduction through food donation and composting. To speak to a recycling expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at