August 9, 2021 | Collection, Composting, Contamination, Facilities, Food Waste

Massachusetts Organics Updates

Top: Conor Miller, founder of Black Earth Compost, LLC, with co-owners (from left to right) Justin Sandler, Andrew Brousseau and Sarah Wolfskehl.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts awarded $565,000 in Recycling Business Development Grants to five companies in the state to better process and manage glass, food waste, textiles, and mattresses. The grant program is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Among the recipients is Black Earth Compost, LLC, which was awarded up to $65,000 to assist with development of an organics processing facility in Groton. The grant funds will help pay for building upgrades and processing equipment that will enable Black Earth Compost to remove contaminants from collected organic material.

Two other organics recycling updates:

  • The number of businesses and institutions contracting for organics hauling at the end of 2020 (3,200) remained steady, with only a 1.5% decrease compared to 2019 (3,250). The drop is primarily due to temporary business closures during the pandemic. In October 2014, when the state’s ban on disposal of commercial food waste and vegetative materials went into effect for generators disposing >1 ton/week of organics, 1,350 entities had contracted for organics hauling. The data is collected annually by RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts from organics haulers on the number of commercial entities in the Commonwealth contracting for organics hauling services.
  • MassDEP has included a provision in its proposed 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan (SWMP) to reduce the threshold of its commercial food waste and vegetative materials disposal ban to >0.5 tons/week (from the existing >1 ton/week). The Department anticipates the SWMP will be finalized before the end of 2021. The starting date for implementation of the new ban, originally proposed as October 1, 2021, will become effective no sooner than one year from promulgation of the 2030 SWMP, notes MassDEP. The delay allows ramp-up time for businesses and institutions generating >0.5 tons/week to comply.

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