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.
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Commercial Food Material Disposal Ban
Table of Contents
News & Updates
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 defintions, see the regulations.
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
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
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
Learn about additional efforts by MassDEP, other government agencies, non-profit groups, regional associations, and universities to help reduce food waste and promote organics recycling.