Blog Post

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.

On November 1, 2022, the MassDEP lowered the threshold for the Commercial Organics Disposal Ban so that it applies to businesses and institutions generating one-half (½) ton or more of food waste per week. This change is anticipated to drive additional waste diversion activity and lead to an increase in businesses and institutions contracting for organics hauling in the state.

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) collects annual data from organics haulers on the number of commercial entities in Massachusetts contracting for organics hauling services. In 2022, we interviewed 38 organics haulers serving Massachusetts businesses. These companies are collectively serving more than 3,100 commercial customers in Massachusetts. The number of customers has continued to increase since 2020, when widespread temporary business closures and a shift in waste generation impacted commercial organics diversion activity.

Massachusetts Businesses Contracting for Organics Hauling in 2022

Note: Previous years’ data is re-analyzed when new information becomes available. Interviews with organics hauling companies this year provided additional insight, and a correction was applied to one company’s self-reported data in a prior year. As a result, customer counts are slightly lower than previously reported for 2017-2020, while the trend remains consistent.

A recent RecyclingWorks Case Study featuring Johnny’s Luncheonette in Newton highlights how smaller food businesses can successfully incorporate food scrap collection programs into their operations. 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