About the Solid Waste Master Plan

The Solid Waste Master Plan is the Commonwealth's blueprint for managing solid waste that is generated, reused, recycled, recovered and disposed of in Massachusetts.

With a 47 percent recycling rate, Massachusetts is among the best in the nation, but growth has leveled off and we continue to dispose of materials that have significant value.  Dramatic increases in energy costs, heightened concerns about climate change, renewed interest in more efficient use of wastes as second hand materials, and diminishing public resources are prompting the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to fundamentally reexamine the way we think about solid waste management. A new Master Plan needs to take advantage of new market opportunities and provide a framework for improving the overall environmental performance of our solid waste management system.

Consumers, businesses and government can no longer afford our traditional ways of dealing with waste.  We need to start seeing waste as material that has value, in both monetary and natural-resource terms, and to develop the markets and infrastructure that will conserve and capitalize on that value rather than squander it.  In these fiscally constrained times, we need smart, market-based strategies to promote recycling, increasing demand for second hand material here in the Commonwealth.  The new Solid Waste Master Plan must establish strategies that are grounded in marketplace realities and will make significant progress toward this goal in the next decade.

To help us identify strategies that will accomplish this goal, MassDEP held six public meetings across the state in December 2008 and January 2009.  The agency asked citizens, businesses, municipal officials and other stakeholders about their best ideas for accomplishing state goals and answering questions like:

  • How can we collectively shift from a "waste management" to a "materials management" system?
  • How can we work with product manufacturers, distributors and retailers to prevent waste from being generated in the first place?
  • How can we increase the amount of waste that is reused, recycled, and composted?
  • How can we encourage recycling markets to grow without depending on government subsidies?
  • How can we encourage entrepreneurs to develop new uses for materials that are recovered from waste? What are the best ways to stimulate new markets that recover the maximum value from these materials?
  • What materials should we focus on in the short term, and what strategies should be started now for longer term benefits?
  • How can we get the most value from materials that cannot be recycled or reused?
  • How effective is the waste incinerator moratorium at meeting our goals of increasing recycling, enhancing environmental performance and spurring new technologies?
  • How can we get the best environmental performance from our materials management system at reasonable cost?

As a follow-up to the stakeholder meetings it held over the winter, MassDEP convened seven workgroups to support and inform the development of a new Solid Waste Master Plan.  

Framework, Presentation & Stakeholder Comments

Solid Waste Master Plan Framework & Stakeholder Questions  pdf format of Solid Waste Master Plan Framework

Stakeholder Meetings Presentation: Solid Waste Master Plan Development  pdf format of Presentation: Solid Waste Master Plan Development

Summary of Comments Received at Stakeholder Meetings  pdf format of Summary of Comments Received at Stakeholder Meetings

Related Information

Solid Waste Master Plan

ADD LINK HERE TO http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/swminma.htm

Questions or Comments?

To learn more about or comment on the Massachusetts Solid Waste Master Plan, please contact John Fischer 617-292-5632 at or john.fischer@state.ma.us.