In 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) enacted the Commercial Organics Disposal Ban, requiring businesses and institutions across the state generating one ton or more per week of food waste to divert it to organics recycling. Since the ban became effective, RecyclingWorks — a MassDEP-supported program managed by the Center for EcoTechnology — has collected data annually from organics haulers on the number of commercial entities in Massachusetts contracting for organics hauling services. In 2021, the number of businesses increased to 3,500, a 9% increase compared to 2020, when widespread temporary business closures and a shift in waste generation impacted commercial organics diversion activity. Since 2014, the number of commercial entities contracting for organics hauling has increased by nearly 160%.
Effective November 1, 2022, the MassDEP is lowering the threshold for the Commercial Organics Disposal Ban so that it applies to businesses and institutions generating one-half ton or more of food waste per week. This change is anticipated to drive further food waste diversion activity and lead to an increase in businesses and institutions contracting for organics hauling in the state. RecyclingWorks helps facilitate compliance with the ban by providing no-cost assistance to businesses and institutions to help maximize food waste diversion opportunities. Offerings include a number of tools, including guidance on collecting food scraps for composting, anaerobic digestion, or animal feed, and best practices for businesses contracting for organics hauling services.