Massachusetts releases draft of state’s solid waste master plan for 2020-30

Massachusetts releases draft of state’s solid waste master plan for 2020-30

The plan proposes to reduce the current annual total of 5.7 million tons of solid waste disposal by 1.7 million tons or 30 percent by 2030 and reduce trash disposal by 90 percent by 2050.

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September 30, 2019

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) issued a draft of its solid waste plans for 2020-30 on Sept. 27. The Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan seeks to increase diversion of food material as well as 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, Dec. 6, and includes five public hearings across the state.

“The Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan proposes aggressive goals for reducing our waste in the next decade and beyond,” MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg says. “The draft plan outlines a mix of regulatory, financial and technical assistance to move towards these goals, improve the [state’s] waste management system, and provide important environmental and economic benefits for Massachusetts.”

The 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 plan also proposes a 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.  

According to MassDEP, 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; and
  • 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 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 five public hearings throughout the state regarding the plan. Additionally, MassDEP will accept comments on the draft plan through Dec. 6, 2019. Comments on the draft plan can be submitted via email to dep.swmp@mass.gov.