How To Get There > Disposal bans > Massachusetts, USA

Massachusetts, USA


Action(s) Taken

  • Disposal bans
  • Zero Waste goals & plans



Year Enacted


Overview of the Zero Waste Resolution in Massachusetts

The state of Massachusetts intends to reduce solid waste disposal by 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 through strategies outlined in the “Pathway to Zero Waste” plan. The plan focuses on increasing organics recovery and paper recycling, developing new markets for materials like construction and demolition discards (C&D), implementing new landfill bans and enforcing existing ones, and reducing the disposal and production of toxic substances.

Reducing solid waste disposal by 30% by 2020 would equate to a 58% recycling goal, and reducing solid waste disposal 80% by 2050 equates to roughly a 90% recycling goal. Products containing toxic chemicals would be virtually eliminated from disposal facilities.

The plan recognized the economic benefits of moving toward Zero Waste. Recycling, reuse and remanufacturing directly support more than 2,000 businesses (estimated 14,000 jobs in Massachusetts), maintain a payroll of nearly $500 million, and bring in annual revenues of $3.2 billion.

Learn more about the Zero Waste Resolution in Massachusetts

Overview of the Disposal Ban in Massachusetts

The 2010-2020 Massachusetts Solid Waste Master Plan set goals of reducing the quantity of waste disposal in the Commonwealth by 30% by 2020, and by 80% by 2050. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has implemented a number of waste bans as part of the effort to reach these goals.

Since 1990, MassDEP has implemented various bans on the landfilling and combustion of easy-to-recycle and toxic materials including ferrous and non-ferrous metals, cathode ray tubes, glass and metal containers, leaves and yard waste, paper, cardboard and paperboard, narrow-necked plastics, and white goods.

Most recently, MassDEP finalized a ban on the disposal of commercial organic wastes. This ban took effect in 2014 and applies to businesses and institutions that dispose of one or more tons of organic wastes each week. This includes colleges, nursing homes and supermarkets.

To comply with the ban, these organizations have options including donating food waste, composting on-site, using food waste for animal feed and contracting with an organics hauler.

Learn more about the Disposal Ban in Massachusetts

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