What Your Organization Needs to Know
A MassDEP ban on disposal of commercial organic wastes by businesses and institutions that dispose of one ton or more of these materials per week took effect on October 1, 2014. By diverting food wastes from disposal to composting, conversion, recycling or reuse, you can not only cut waste management costs, but potentially save money on purchasing, too. Many businesses and institutions were enjoying these benefits even before the ban was implemented.
Compliance Assistance from RecyclingWorks
There is an array of options available to your organization for reducing food waste and diverting it from disposal. RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts can help you take the next step in starting or improving an organics diversion program. Follow these links to learn how you can:
- Estimate How Much Food Waste You Generate
- Reduce the Volume of Your Food Waste
- Adopt Food Waste Best Management Practices
- Donate Unused Food to People Through Food Banks, Soup Kitchens & Shelters
- Find Haulers & Processing Facilities to Recycle or Compost Your Food Waste
There are also a number of on-site and off-site options for processing food wastes. These include composting, dehydration, pulping, anaerobic digestion, rendering for fats and oils, and use as feed for farm animals.
Food Waste Generation & Diversion
Food Waste Generators in Massachusetts file size 1MB
file size 1MB
2011 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data update of a 2002 study commissioned by MassDEP that identified major generators of food waste in Massachusetts, including food processors, wholesalers, grocery stores, institutional food service providers and large restaurants.
Massachusetts Food Waste Generator Map file size 1MB
Shows the geographic distribution of the large food waste generators identified in the report above.
Map & List of Massachusetts Sites Accepting Diverted Food Waste Material, August 2016 file size 1MB
These facilities can help businesses and institutions comply with the ban on disposal of commercial organics by accepting their food wastes.
Food Waste Composting Fact Sheet, July 2015
Provides information on how much food waste is generated and diverted from disposal in Massachusetts, what the state is doing to promote food waste composting, what MassDEP permits and approvals are needed by composting facilities, and how to learn more.
Case Studies & Success Stories
Video - A Success Story: The Massachusetts Commercial Organics Waste Ban
Learn about the environmental and economic benefits of the ban on large business and institutional food waste disposal.
Boston Public Market Leftover Food Donation & Composting Program
MassLive article on Public Market partnerships with food rescue organizations and a composting cooperative.
Cambridge Commercial Food Materials Composting Program
The city used a MassDEP grant to launch this program in 2006 to help local business recycle foods wastes for no more than the cost of trash disposal, and sometimes less.
Food is Not Trash: Redefining Wellesley's Waste Culture by Composting file size 3MB
Report prepared by Wellesley College Environmental Studies students in Spring 2013.
Regulations & Guidance
310 CMR 19.000: Final Commercial Organic Material Waste Ban Amendments, January 2014
These regulations ban disposal of food and other organic wastes from businesses and institutions that dispose of more than one ton of these materials per week.
Commercial Organic Materials Waste Ban Guidance for Businesses, Institutions & Haulers, June 2014
Compliance information for businesses and institutions that dispose of one ton or more of organic material per week, and their waste management providers.
Waste Ban Guidance for Operators of Solid Waste Facilities, April 2014
Includes updated information on compliance with the commercial food waste disposal ban.
Reducing Food Waste: A How to Guide for Businesses & Institutions, June 2013
Simple steps your organization can take to reduce food waste and save money.
Trimming the Fat: Cutting Costs by Reducing Food Waste
Practical tips for restaurants, supermarkets, commercial food processors and other organizations.
Reports, Plans & Data
Massachusetts Organics Study & Action Plan, January 2016
Outlines initiatives for diverting at least 35 percent of all food waste from disposal statewide by 2020.
Summary Analysis: Massachusetts Commercial / Institutional Food Waste Generation Data
2011 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) update of a 2002 study commissioned by MassDEP.
Study: Identification, Characterization & Mapping of Food Waste & Food Waste Generators in Massachusetts, September 2002
Report on the original Draper/Lennon Inc. study, performed for MassDEP.
Report: On-Site Systems for Processing Food Waste, April 2013 file size 1MB
file size 1MB
Extensive report submitted to MassDEP by Northeastern University students.
Anaerobic Digestion & Organics Diversion
MassDEP and state energy agencies are promoting the diversion of organic materials from disposal facilities to anaerobic digesters that generate renewable biogas.
Massachusetts Waste Disposal Bans
Commercial food waste is one of a number of easy-to-recycle materials that are banned from disposal in the state's combustion facilities and landfills.
Save The Food
Americans throw too much food away. It is a waste and contributes to climate change. This national campaign emphasizes using up leftovers to help the environment.
Supermarket Recycling in Massachusetts
Recycling and composting organics and other waste materials is good for both the environment and a grocery store's bottom line.
U.S. EPA Food Recovery Challenge
Organizations participating in this national program pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices and report their results.