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Mass. To Institute Commercial Food Waste Ban

This article is more than 9 years old.

Massachusetts has issued final regulations on a statewide commercial food waste ban.

The regulations unveiled Friday are set to take effect in October and intended to divert leftover food and reduce the state's waste stream.

The ban, which will be regulated by the state Department of Environmental Protection, requires businesses that dispose of at least one ton of organic material per week donate or "re-purpose" any useable food.

Any remaining food waste will have to be shipped to an anaerobic digestion facility, where it will be converted to clean energy, or sent to composting and animal-feed operations.

Residential food materials and food waste from small businesses are not included in the ban.

Officials say the disposal ban affects approximately 1,700 institutions statewide, including supermarkets, colleges, universities, hotels, convention centers, hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and food service and processing companies.

Some restaurants have expressed concerns about increased costs, as well as the risk of attracting rodents by storing waste food.

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan said the ban "is critical to achieving our aggressive waste disposal reduction goals and it is in line with our commitment to increase clean energy production."

Food and other organic material make up 25 percent of the state's waste stream. The Patrick administration has set a goal of reducing that waste stream by 30 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

The administration said 300 supermarkets already have food waste separation programs that save each store up to $20,000 per year.


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