Massachusetts DEP finds excessive cardboard disposal

According to a report released today by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), a number of well-known Massachusetts businesses and institutions continue to discard large volumes of cardboard, despite a statewide ban on disposal of the easy-to-recycle material. MassDEP estimates that over 1.5 million tons of paper products are still being disposed in landfills and incinerators across the state every year at an average cost of $70 per ton, resulting in up to $105 million in lost recycling savings for business and communities.

“Continued disposal of recyclables is a needless waste of money, raw material and in-state disposal capacity,” said MassDEP Acting Commissioner Arleen O’Donnell in a press release. “Diverting material from trash dumpsters to recycling bins saves everyone money. Recycling creates feedstock for companies that manufacture products with recycled content and employ thousands of people across the Commonwealth.”

As part of a statewide campaign to cut down on continued disposal of cardboard and other easy-to-recycle materials, MassDEP sent inspectors to a number of solid waste facilities during the fall to monitor compliance with a state regulation that prohibits throwing those materials away. One of every five truckloads of solid waste that inspectors observed were found to be in violation of state bans on disposal of large amounts of recyclables. One-third of the violations involved excessive amounts of cardboard, with up to 40 percent of the material being thrown away, in some cases.

Each violator was issued a notice of noncompliance with the waste ban regulation, and required to draw up a plan to stop the disposal of banned materials and submit the plan to MassDEP for approval.