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Understanding and preparing for the Massachusetts food waste ban

Starting in November 2022, compliance with Massachusetts’ commercial food and waste ban will be lowered to a weekly threshold of one half-ton. Per the MassDEP:

“Effective beginning November 1, 2022 commercial organic material means food material and vegetative material from any entity that generates more than one-half ton of those materials for solid waste disposal per week.”

For some background, this development represents a massive expansion of  the ban’s original iteration. Launched back in 2014, that first phase of the ban applied to  businesses and institutions generating a full ton of organics per week. Naturally, the program’s expansion means that thousands of  businesses (including yours, perhaps?) may soon be out of compliance with state regulations. Below, we outline some important steps you can take to reduce waste and meet these new regulations. 


How you can comply with the ban

First, note that only businesses that generate at least 1,000 pounds of food residuals are subject to the ban. If your business fits the bill, here are some ways you can comply.

1. Compost

Composting plays an essential role in addressing food waste by relying on microorganisms to break down organic material. This creates a more sustainable waste ecosystem as composting drastically reduces methane emissions during food breakdown. For those with large quantities of food waste, composting provides a solution that can help you adhere to new regulations while also supporting the environment. 

2. Food Donations:

According to the ReFED, the United States wastes around 108 billion tons of food every year. By donating food, you can cut down on food waste while also supporting the communities that help your business thrive. On top of that, donations also support ongoing sustainability as unspoiled food does not end up in landfills. You can find a local food bank here

3. Practice Source Reduction

The goal of source reduction is to reduce waste by not making waste in the first place. Through careful planning, businesses can cut down on their usage by ordering less. This also encourages employee mindfulness as source reduction can be applied through all levels of a business or institution. 

With regard to food, this means monitoring average waste and identifying areas where it can be cut down. Waste audits are a great place to start as they allow you to track your organization’s waste stream and make real-time adjustments. With the upcoming legislation change, taking action to identify all waste is crucial.

How Bootstrap Compost can help

Here at Bootstrap Compost, we provide a variety of products and services designed to assist organizations with their waste management needs. From offices to restaurants, our team will work with you to design and implement an impactful and personalized composting strategy to ensure that your organizations will be waste compliant now and in the future. With Massachusetts placing a long-term emphasis on their waste efforts, it is likely that the ban we bill expanded in the future. Get ahead of the game and make sure you are prepared for all new requirements. 

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