MassDEP’s Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan: Re-Opening the Public Comment Period

WRITTEN BY yve torrie, director of climate, energy & resilience

Every 10 years, the Commonwealth prepares a new 10-year Solid Waste Master Plan that establishes the framework, goals, future directions, and strategies for solid waste management in Massachusetts. The Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan was released in the Fall of 2019 and five public hearings have been held to date, with additional hearings scheduled for the coming weeks.

As communicated in a recent presentation, the 2020-2030 Draft Plan lays out three key goals: to reduce waste disposal 30% by 2030; to reduce waste disposal 90% by 2050; and to reduce the toxicity of the solid waste stream. Highlighted strategies include reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting. Food waste and cardboard present the greatest opportunities for diversion.


The draft plan recommends the following strategies for commercial waste reduction:

  • Reduce the waste ban failed load rate from 26% to 10% by 2030. (Some materials have been banned from municipal, commercial and industrial waste e.g. recyclable paper and cardboard, glass/aluminum/metal/plastic containers, and leaf and yard waste[i]. If banned materials end up in a load of trash, “failed loads” may occur).
  • Target specific materials for diversion or reduction– food, cardboard, furniture, mattresses & other bulky materials
  • Reduce the threshold for the commercial organics waste ban from one ton or more per week to a half ton or more per week (expected in the next year)
  • Continue a mix of enforcement and technical assistance

The Commonwealth is holding additional online public hearings to address issues including environmental justice, climate change, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. MassDEP is seeking input on the following questions although other elements of the plan can be raised/submitted:

  • What specific challenges are faced by populations that are disproportionally impacted by solid waste activities?  How could the Commonwealth’s Solid Waste Master Plan address these challenges?
  • How can Environmental Justice communities be better reflected in how waste is managed in Massachusetts?
  • Are there specific policies or programs recommended that would address the solid waste management concerns of environmental justice communities?
  • What actions can be pursued to reduce carbon emissions from the management of solid waste to help meet the Commonwealth Global Warming Solution Act goals?
  • What impacts does COVID-19 have on waste management? 
  • Are there specific waste management initiatives that may be problematic or beneficial to implement as we adjust to the impacts of COVID-19?

The dates and times of these public hearings are:

  • Thursday, August 20, 2020
    6:00-8:00 p.m.


Feedback can be provided via public hearing or via written comment.  Written comments can be submitted electronically to or by mail to: John Fischer, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, 1 Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108.


 For any questions, please contact Yve Torrie.




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