The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) recently released proposed amendments to the solid waste disposal bans (310 CMR 19.000). These changes would add mattresses and textiles as materials that are banned from disposal in Massachusetts, and lower the threshold for the commercial organics ban so that it would apply to businesses generating one-half ton or more of food waste per week. These changes are proposed to take effect on October 1, 2021.
MassDEP’s Draft 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan proposes a 30% statewide waste reduction goal, to reduce disposal by 1.7 million tons annually, from a 2018 baseline of 5.7 million tons to 4 million tons by 2030. The proposed waste ban amendments represent an opportunity to support this statewide goal by diverting additional waste from disposal and encouraging economic development and job creation. To illustrate, consider the following:
- Food materials represent more than 25% of municipal solid waste, or 1.3 million tons annually. Massachusetts’ 2014 commercial food waste disposal ban directly created an estimated 500 jobs and generated an estimated $174 million in annual economic activity.
- Mattresses are bulky, difficult to handle, and take up a lot of space at solid waste facilities. MassDEP estimates that 600,000 mattresses are generated on an annual basis. While not all mattresses can be recycled, existing recycling infrastructure has the capacity to handle 300,000 mattresses per year and this capacity is continuing to grow.
- Approximately 250,000 tons of textiles are disposed of each year in Massachusetts. Textiles have value for both donation and recycling purposes, and MassDEP estimates that the proposed regulations, along with supporting programs, can divert 125,000 tons of textiles to more beneficial uses.
All interested parties, including businesses, institutions, industry groups, and associations, are encouraged to engage in this process:
- Open public hearings will be held virtually on the proposed regulations, on November 9, 2020 at 6:00 pm and November 12, 2020 at 10:00 am.
- Public comments will be accepted through December 4, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Written comments must be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org via mail to John Fischer, MassDEP, One Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts offers free technical assistance to help businesses and institutions keep materials out of the trash. RecyclingWorks can help your businesses establish a new waste diversion program or expand existing efforts in preparation for these proposed waste ban amendments. To learn more about our resources and no-cost assistance, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at email@example.com.