In a letter to municipal and regional recycling contacts, the Department of Environmental Protection’s solid waste management team shared guidelines and resources related to the continuation of municipal waste and recycling operations during the COVID-19 emergency.

The governor’s emergency order regarding essential services includes support workers who ensure the effective removal, storage and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste. This includes all activities related to the handling of waste materials for recycling, composting or disposal.

The DEP guidance reminds operators of recycling facilities, transfer stations, landfills and municipal waste combustion operations of their obligation to report any issues that may impact their operations, and not to make alterations to their activities without DEP approval.

The DEP will continue to work with site operators to provide authorizations and make adjustments as needed, including, but not limited to, operating hours, daily/annual capacity levels, storage limits, and waste ban waivers.

The governor’s March 23 emergency order provides relief from state and federal requirements that govern the hours of service for commercial vehicle operators involved in waste and recycling transportation and collection, while maintaining important safety protections and measures.

The DEP’s Recycling and Solid Waste Information for Municipal Officials can be found at www.mma.org/covid19/#guidance. The DEP website has a full listing of its guidance and resources related to solid waste and recycling during COVID-19.

Questions about state guidance regarding solid waste and recycling operations can be directed to Brooke Nash, branch chief for municipal waste reduction, at brooke.nash@state.ma.us, or to John Fischer, deputy division director for solid waste materials management, at john.fischer@state.ma.us.

The Northeast Resource Recovery Association has created a web page with resources on solid waste and recycling during the COVID-19 emergency, which includes a webinar on best management practices for recycling facilities.

The Solid Waste Association of North America also has a guidance page.

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