Coming Soon! New Expanded Ban on Food and Other Commercial Organic Waste.  Will Your Business Be Affected?

September 19, 2022

Don’t look now, but your business may soon be affected by the expansion of the state’s organic waste ban. In effect since 2014, the ban is about to sweep in even more businesses with a reduction in the threshold for compliance from one ton to one-half ton per week. This expansion of the waste disposal ban is a part of the strategy of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”) under its 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan to reduce Massachusetts’ solid waste disposal over the next decade by 30 percent, from 5.7 million tons in 2018 to 4 million tons in 2030.


The amended regulations at 310 CMR 19.000: Solid Waste Management Facility Regulations will also add mattresses and textiles to the list of materials that are banned from disposal or transport for disposal in Massachusetts. They are set to become effective on November 1, 2022.


The lower threshold will significantly expand the businesses that are subject to the ban. The amended regulations are likely to affect businesses in the agriculture, food processing and manufacturing, food preparation, and entertainment industries. This will include restaurants, hotels, hospitals, universities, corporate cafeterias, and entertainment production venues.


Businesses can use MassDEP’s food waste estimation tool provided by its “RecyclingWorks Massachusetts” program, which provides sector-based estimates for food waste generation to help determine how likely it is for a facility to be subject to the commercial organics ban.


To ensure compliance, businesses should devise waste management plans to reduce and divert organic material from disposal. MassDEP has recommended various ways to help facilities comply with the ban. These include reducing food waste generation through more efficient food service operations and systems to track food waste, and using an on-site system to process food waste. They also include donating servable food to shelters, pantries, and food rescue operations.


Prince Lobel attorneys are here to help your business navigate the solid waste management facility regulations. If you believe that your business will be impacted by the MassDEP waste disposal ban and would like to ensure compliance with the regulations, please contact Julie Pruitt Barry, chair of Prince Lobel’s Environmental Law group, or Lesley Delany Hawkins, chair of the firm’s Restaurant and Hospitality group for assistance navigating the regulations.


With many thanks to Dalton Battin for his invaluable assistance with this Client Alert.

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