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Food Waste Ban First Of Its Kind In Mass.

In an effort to reduce the state's additions to landfills, Massachusetts will become the first state to ban food waste from being thrown into the trash.

landfill

Photo: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Flickr)

Massachusetts creates 1.4 million tons of organic waste each year. With the help of some new rules, the state hopes to prevent much of that waste from making its way to landfills.

Addressing Waste

Massachusetts is poised to become the first state to prohibit commercial businesses from throwing food waste into the trash.

The plan is slated to go into full effect by 2014 and will affect hospitals, universities, hotels, large restaurants and big businesses.

The ban is part of a larger plan to divert organic waste from landfills, which produces the greenhouse gas methane as it decomposes.

Compost For All

Some businesses are concerned about the cost — the system will require different transportation and new containers for collection. Others are worried the restaurants will let the organic matter rot in the open, attracting pests.

However, other places with mandatory composting policies, like the cities of San Francisco and Portland, have not experienced any such problems.

San Francisco, whose program went into effect in 2009, composted its millionth ton of waste in November 2011.

Portland’s program, which went into effect in October 2011, has reported a 44 percent decrease in the amount of residential garbage taken to landfills.

Massachusetts creates 1.4 million tons of organic waste each year.

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Earth Eats Staff

Earth Eats Staff is a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog bringing you the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

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