Pathway to Zero Waste


Any pathway to zero waste requires a shift in thinking.  This shift in thinking is being harnessed by Massachusetts evident in their finalized 2020 solid waste plan.

Previously Massachusetts treated waste as waste but thanks to their forward-looking plan, those days are not only about to end but include the suggestion that cutting-edge technology like the Eco-Safe Digester should play a bigger role in the plan.

Every year, Massachusetts disposes enough trash in landfills to fill 74 Fenway Parks.  The disposal of that much material carries a large cost to the environment and the taxpayer wallet which is why The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is forcing a ban on organics.  By reducing waste and by recycling more, Massachusetts believes they can reduce their need for overall disposal capacity and reduce the amount of waste they will need to ship to other states for disposal as their landfill capacity diminishes.

The highlights for their zero waste goals include the following absolute findings…

  • As a state they can no longer afford traditional methods of managing waste.
  • Diverting organic materials from landfills can make an important contribution to reducing methane releases from those landfills.
  • Diverting a target of 35% of source separated organics by 2020 is more than 350,000 tons per year of additional diversion activity.
  • Transporting leftover food materials long distances is not a suggested or smart solution.
  • To process 350,000 additional tons per year by means of compost would require up to 8-10 additional 100 ton per day facilities to be cited, funded, located and built.
  • Diversion may be accomplished through diverting leftover food through the wastewater system, using technology like an on-site digester similar to the Eco-Safe Digester, which will solve the need to build additional and costly composting or anaerobic digestion facilities. 

Massachusetts believes they can do more to divert materials from disposal and direct material toward an active and productive second-life in their economy.  In doing so, they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve natural resources, and save energy, while at the same time spurring the expansion of businesses and jobs and reduce disposal costs for waste generators and municipalities.

The entire 2020 Solid Waste Master Plan can be found on their website.


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