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Boston, MA - Two years ago this July 1st, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released its draft Solid Waste Master Plan for 2010 – 2020, “Pathway to Zero Waste.” Following the release, DEP held five public hearings on the Plan across the state and received input from municipalities, businesses and industry, recycling advocacy groups, and hundreds of citizens. And since then, the draft Solid Waste Master Plan – the state’s number one guiding document on all things waste – has been sitting on the shelf, gathering dust, waiting to be finalized and shown to the public. According to DEP staff, they have sent their draft plan “up the line” and are waiting for an approved plan that they can release.
“Massachusetts needs a roadmap to get to zero waste,” said Sylvia Broude, Executive Director of Toxics Action Center. “Two years ago, hundreds of stakeholders weighed in on the plan’s strengths and flaws. All that citizen energy has gone to waste - and it’s not the only thing going to waste. In the meantime, trash is piling up in landfills, we’ve still failed to pass the Bottle Bill and E-Waste bill, and municipalities and businesses are looking for direction from the state.”
The draft Solid Waste Master Plan for 2010-2020 set a statewide goal of decreasing solid waste disposal by 30% by 2020, mainly through increasing recycling rates and diverting organic waste away from landfills and incinerators. While Massachusetts is poised to benefit greatly from moving towards zero waste, much of the testimony and many of the comments submitted took issue with the definition of and approach to zero waste in the draft - the devil is in the details and underscores why it’s so important that a final plan be issued.
Some advocates say that the draft Solid Waste Master Plan, while not perfect, will give a green light to businesses in the recycling and composting industries that Massachusetts is a strong market and a good place to grow their companies if it’s finalized soon. A new report shows that the recycling industry in the state is ready to add another 1,200 jobs in the next two years, a 15% growth rate.
“MASSPIRG is thinking the next step is to make a dentist appointment for DEP,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director. “That may be the only way to do the extraction needed for the final Solid Waste Master Plan.”
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Toxics Action Center and MASSPIRG are members of Don’t Waste Massachusetts, an alliance of public interest and environmental groups around the state that also includes Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), Clean Water Action, the Sierra Club, Residents for Alternative Trash Solutions (RATS) and other groups. Don’t Waste Massachusetts is pushing the state to adopt real zero waste policies with ambitious plans to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost. Residents can read the drafted Solid Waste Master Plan on DEP’s website: http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/priorities/dswmpu01.htm. For more information about Don’t Waste Massachusetts, please visit www.DontWasteMassachusetts.org.
Report: “Recycling and Jobs in Massachusetts, A Study of Current and Future Workforce Needs.” http://www.skill-works.org/documents/SW_RecyclingReport3-2012_online.pdf
Municipal Recycling Rates (Most recent, 2008): http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/priorities/munirate.pdf
Active Landfills and Remaining Landfill Capacity: http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/actlf.pdf
Active Incinerators and Capacity: http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/actcf.pdf
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