- A commercial food waste ban will begin in Massachusetts on October 1, 2014. It will be regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
- The ban requires that any business or institution disposing of one ton or more of organic food waste per week, donate or re-purpose the food. Food waste must be shipped to an anaerobic digestion facility or brought to a composting or animal-feed facility.
- The food waste ban is expected to help the state attain its goal to reduce its waste stream by 30% by 2020, and 80% in 2050.
Food waste and organics account for 25% of the waste stream. The ban will affect 1,700 businesses, including restaurants, hotels and convention centers, grocery stores, colleges and universities, hospitals and food processing companies. The Massachusetts EPA recently approved a food waste project for a chain of supermarkets in anticipation of the ban. The ban is good news for the town of Hamilton, which is searching for a company to transform a former landfill into the site of a new anaerobic digestion plant that will process food waste.
DEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell said, "…there is more work to be done to make this effort a success. Over the next eight months, we plan to join with our organics stakeholders to conduct additional outreach, education, technical assistance and infrastructure development to ensure a smooth transition for the businesses covered by the ban."