Commercial Food Material Disposal Ban

MassDEP regulations ban disposal of food and other organic wastes from businesses and institutions that generate more than one-half ton of these materials per week.

Table of Contents

News & Updates

One Million Tons Per Year   The amount of food Bay Staters waste that could be donated, composted, or used as animal feed instead.

November 1, 2022

MassDEP is expanding its waste disposal bans by:

  • Lowering the threshold on commercial organic/food waste to facilities generating more than one-half ton of these materials per week; and
  • Adding mattresses and textiles to the list of materials banned from disposal or transport for disposal in Massachusetts.

For details and definitions, see the regulations.

October 2021

MassDEP issued its final 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, establishing goals to reduce disposal statewide by 30 percent (from 5.7 million tons in 2018 to 4 million tons in 2030) over the next decade. It set a long-term goal of achieving a 90 percent reduction in disposal to 570,000 tons by 2050. 

See Additional Resources below to learn more.

Additional Resources   for News & Updates

About the Disposal Ban

Since October 1, 2014, MassDEP has banned the disposal of commercial organic wastes by businesses and institutions that generate one ton or more of these materials per week. Effective November 1, 2022, the threshold is a half-ton or more weekly.

The ban is one of the agency's initiatives for diverting at least 35 percent of all food waste from disposal statewide. 

By diverting food wastes from disposal to composting, conversion, recycling or reuse, we 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. 

Additional Resources   for About the Disposal Ban

Regulations & Guidance

The MassDEP Commercial Food Materials Disposal Ban was implemented on October 1, 2014, and expanded effective November 1, 2022, to include facilities with lower outputs. See Additional Resources below for:

  • The most recent amendments to the 310 CMR 19.000: Solid Waste Facility Regulations, expanding the disposal ban.
  • Compliance guidance for generators and haulers of commercial food waste, as well as facilities that accept it.
  • Helpful fact sheets on reducing food wastes and associated disposal costs.

Additional Resources   for Regulations & Guidance

Compliance Assistance

Need Help?   Call RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts: 888-254-5525

There is an array of options available for reducing food waste and diverting it from disposal. RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts can help your business or institution start or improve an organics diversion program.

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.

Follow the links in Additional Resources below to learn more.

Additional Resources   for Compliance Assistance

Massachusetts Food Waste Data

Major generators of food waste in Massachusetts include food processors, wholesalers, grocery stores, institutional food service providers, and large restaurants.

Learn more about them, where they can send their food wastes, and what the state is doing to promote composting of organics.

If you need any of the data below in a searchable/sortable format, please contact us.

Additional Resources   for Massachusetts Food Waste Data

Case Studies & Success Stories

Follow the link below to see a series of videos about how business, institutional, and municipal food waste management practices have changed for the better since MassDEP implemented its ban on commercial food material disposal

Key Actions   for Case Studies & Success Stories

Economic Impact

Boost for Business   The Massachusetts economy has gained 900 jobs, $175 million in activity.

Since being implemented in October 2014, the Massachusetts ban on disposal of commercial food materials has spurred considerable growth in the state's organics diversion and reuse industry.

A December 2016 study prepared for MassDEP by ICF International Inc. found the disposal ban has stimulated our economy by:

  • Creating hundreds of well-paying jobs,
  • Increasing the Gross State Product by some $77 million, and
  • Generating more than $5 million in state and local tax revenue.

See the study and a related presentation below.

Additional Resources   for Economic Impact

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