Massachusetts Food Waste Ban

Massachusetts Food Waste Ban

State regulation regarding disposal of food waste takes effect on Wednesday October 1, 2014.

This Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) regulation prohibits the disposal of food waste into landfills. Options for handling food waste include reduction at the source, donation, composting, animal feed, and anaerobic digestion. The waste ban applies to any facility that disposes of more than one ton per week of food waste.

For universities, each campus counts as a facility, and most of Harvard's dining establishments have been reducing, donating, and composting for years. One-time events must also comply with the regulation. Many facilities and vendors are using biodegradable serviceware so as to make collecting food waste easier. Upon inspection by state employees, dumpsters with large amounts of food waste may be turned away at the transfer station, and non-compliance could result in fines.

For further information, please review MADEP Composting Requirements Guidance. Within the document are links to additional resources, such as university-wide signage for helping patrons and staff distinguish between materials that are to be composted versus recycled or landfilled (trash). The document also includes applicability criteria, recommendations for managing food waste, definitions, and FAQs.

The state has also compiled many resources at MADEP Food Waste Ban.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in ensuring Harvard's compliance with this important and mandatory state regulation.

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