In response to the Department of Environmental Protection’s draft Solid Waste Master Plan for 2020-2030, the MMA is urging the agency to consider challenges faced by cities and towns in the current marketplace.

In formal comments filed on Dec. 6, the MMA wrote that “any master plan for managing solid waste and recycling across the Commonwealth must recognize the financial and materials burden placed on cities and towns and offer some analysis of such, coupled with strategies for relief and support.”

The MMA voiced support for the master plan’s top goals for 2030, including a 30% reduction in the overall tonnage of the waste stream, a reduction in the toxicity of materials disposed of in the waste stream, and increased diversion of food material.

The MMA reiterated its support for extended producer responsibility and product stewardship initiatives, which shift some of the cost and materials burden at product end-of-life from municipalities to manufacturers.

The MMA also shared concerns about dwindling in-state capacity for waste disposal. While overall waste reduction and targeted diversion is the first step toward addressing the capacity shortfall, the MMA supports increasing capacity for waste-to-energy and non-combustion technologies that meet robust public and environmental health standards.

Lastly, the MMA encouraged the MassDEP to continue to foster in-state and regional market development for reusable, recyclable and compostable materials, which could have a beneficial financial impact on municipal recycling contracts.

The MMA’s input drew from commitments unanimously adopted by the MMA membership at the 2019 Annual Business Meeting in a resolution supporting a local-state-federal partnership to address the challenges to the recycling marketplace.

The MMA’s comment letter on the draft Solid Waste Master Plan supported its oral testimony given at a public hearing on Oct. 30.

The MassDEP has closed the public comment period on the draft plan and is reviewing all input. The MMA will continue to engage with the MassDEP in 2020 as the agency continues its work to finalize the master plan.

For questions or comments on solid waste and recycling issues, contact MMA Legislative Analyst Ariela Lovett at alovett@mma.org or 617-426-7272, ext. 161.

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