Will Massachusetts ban disposal of commercial food scraps?

Will Massachusetts ban disposal of commercial food scraps?

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Officials in Massachusetts have announced a new proposal to ban the disposal of commercial food scraps and invest $4 million in grants and low-interest loans to facilities capable of converting the waste into clean energy.

According to draft regulations, commercial organic waste that would be subject to the ban includes "food material and vegetative material from any commercial or institutional entity, public or private, that disposes of more than one ton of that material per week." Residential food waste will not be affected by the ban.

Facilities able to convert the diverted commercial organic waste into clean energy through a process known as anaerobic digestion (AD) will serve as an important piece of the puzzle. Low-interest loans totaling $3 million as well as $1 million in grants will be awarded to AD facilities as an incentive to join Massachusetts in its clean energy and waste stream initiative.

"Banning commercial food waste and supporting the development of AD facilities across the Commonwealth are critical to achieving our aggressive waste disposal reduction goals," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan in a press release. "These policies and programs will continue the Patrick Administration's commitment to growing the clean energy sector in Massachusetts, creating jobs and reducing emissions."

The proposed ban is part of plan to help the state reduce its overall waste stream by 30 percent in 2020 and by 80 percent in 2050.

If passed, the ban would go into effect in July 2014.

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