Green Hotels Association
    February 2015  

Commercial Food Waste
Disposal Ban

A MassDEP (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection) ban on disposal of commercial organic wastes by businesses and institutions that dispose of one ton or more of these materials per week took effect October 1, 2014. By diverting food wastes from disposal to composting, conversion, recycling or reuse, your organization can not only cut its waste management costs, but potentially save money on purchasing, too. Many businesses and institutions are enjoying these benefits already. MassDEP has conducted months of extensive outreach to help affected organizations prepare for compliance with the disposal ban, and has developed a web page as a one-stop source of information and assistance.

REDUCE - Reducing the volume of food waste produced is a great starting point to divert organic waste and save money. Options to reduce organic waste generated include tracking where and how food is wasted, reducing the number of menu items, providing flexible portioning choices, discounting items close to expiration at supermarkets, tailoring both the quantity and timing of food deliveries, and utilizing proper food storage techniques.

DONATE - Donating good quality surplus food keeps this valuable material out of the landfill and on the plates of those in need in your community.

PROCESS - Processing organic waste involves either investing in technology to reduce or compost food waste on site or contracting with a hauler to transport food waste to an off-site facility.

On-Site Options - On-site organics waste processing can save money in hauling fees by either reducing the frequency of pickups or by negating the need for an organic waste hauler all together. These systems do require an initial investment in technology and ongoing equipment maintenance and operation costs. Composting or other on-site systems can be a good fit for a facility that has grounds and landscaping where the processed food material can be added to an existing composting operation or where hauler collection routes for food waste are limited. Potential types of on-site systems include compost units, dehydrators, pulpers, wastewaster-based systems and anaerobic digesters.

Off-Site Options - Off-site options require contracting with a hauler to transport food materials to an off-site facility. Potential types of facilities and uses include farms for animal feed, compost sites, anaerobic digesters and rendering/biodiesel operations (for fats, oils, and grease). Different off-site facilities can accommodate varied types of material. For example, some compost sites will accept compostable paper and waxed cardboard with food waste, whereas farms that want to use food material for animal feed will not want paper mixed with food waste. When evaluating off-site options, it is important to work closely with your hauler and the receiving facility to ensure that you are properly separating materials to meet that facility�s needs.

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