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MassDEP Releases Draft Solid Waste Master Plan

MassDEP Releases Draft Solid Waste Master Plan
The plan will increase diversion of food material and textiles, aid municipal and commercial recycling and enhance enforcement of waste disposal bans.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) issued the Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan. The proposal seeks to increase diversion of food material, textiles and bulky waste items, provide financial and technical assistance for municipal waste and recycling programs and enhance compliance and enforcement of waste disposal bans.

A public comment period on the draft runs through Friday, December 6, and includes five public hearings across the Commonwealth.

“The Draft Solid Waste Master Plan proposes aggressive goals for reducing our waste in the next decade and beyond,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg in a statement. “The draft plan outlines a mix of regulatory, financial and technical assistance to move toward these goals, improve the Commonwealth’s waste management system and provide important environmental and economic benefits for Massachusetts.”

The Solid Waste Master Plan establishes the state’s policy framework for reducing and managing solid waste that is generated, reused, recycled or disposed of by Massachusetts residents and businesses. The Draft 2020-2030 Plan proposes a broad vision for and strategies on how the state will seek to manage its waste over the next decade and beyond.

From 2008 to 2018, Massachusetts’ per capita disposal dropped by 18 percent. The new plan proposes to build on this progress and further reduce the current annual total of 5.7 million tons of solid waste disposal by 1.7 million tons, or 30 percent, by 2030. The plan also proposes an aggressive longer-term goal to reduce trash disposal by 90 percent by 2050.  

Initiatives included in the draft plan will:

  • Increase requirements on the diversion of commercial food material from disposal.
  • Improve the performance of recycling facilities handling construction and demolition materials.
  • Provide financial and technical assistance to enhance municipal solid waste and recycling programs.
  • Target the reuse and recycling of textiles, mattresses and other bulky waste items.
  • Enhance compliance and enforcement of existing waste disposal bans and pursue additional bans on target materials.
  • Advance adoption of extended producer responsibility systems for select materials. 

The draft plan takes a balanced approach to meeting Massachusetts’ capacity needs for waste materials. This approach includes fostering opportunities to reduce waste upfront through source reduction and reuse, growing in-state capacity and markets to manage recyclables and food materials and maintaining the moratorium on additional municipal waste combustion capacity. 

MassDEP has scheduled the following public hearings:

  1. Wednesday, October 30, at 5 p.m. ET at the MassDEP Central Regional Office, 8 New Bond Street, Worcester.
  2. Wednesday, November 6, at 5 p.m. ET at the MassDEP Northeast Regional Office, 205B Lowell Street, Wilmington.
  3. Thursday, November 7, at 10 a.m. ET at the MassDEP Headquarters Office, 1 Winter Street, Boston.
  4. Tuesday, November 12, at 5 p.m. ET at the Springfield City Library, Sixteen Acres Branch, 1187 Parker Street, Springfield.
  5. Tuesday, November 19, at 5 p.m. ET at the MassDEP Southeast Regional Office, 20 Riverside Drive, Lakeville.

MassDEP will accept comments on the draft plan through 5 p.m. ET on Friday, December 6.

Copies of the draft plan are available here.

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