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Massachusetts to Ban Some Commercial Food Waste

Organics Diversion Drives Changes in Landfill Operators’ Roles

Massachusetts will enact a statewide commercial food waste disposal ban beginning Oct. 1.

The ban will divert food waste to energy-generating and composting facilities, according to a news release from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which will regulate the ban.

The ban will require any entity that disposes of at least one ton of organic material per week to donate or re-purpose the useable food. Any remaining food waste will be shipped to an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility for conversion to energy, or sent to composting and animal-feed operations.

“The disposal ban is critical to achieving our aggressive waste disposal reduction goals and it is in line with our commitment to increase clean energy production,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan.

 Massachusetts has a goal to reduce its waste stream by 30 percent in 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

Residential food materials and food waste from small businesses are not included in the ban. The disposal ban affects approximately 1,700 businesses and institutions, including supermarkets, colleges, universities, hotels, convention centers, hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and food service and processing companies.

To ensure that there will be sufficient facilities to manage the organic material resulting from the ban, the administration of Gov. Deval Patrick is working to site composting and AD operations on farms, wastewater treatment plants and other public and private locations by providing technical assistance and up to $1 million in grants.

The Massachusetts DEP proposed the ban last July.

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