The holidays have passed us and many folks either hosted or were invited to a nice home-cooked meal to spend together with family and friends. One thing that you'll find in many refrigerators across the country during late December/early January is leftovers. If you hosted and paid for the food and ingredients that made that meal, you don't want to be wasting money by not eating the leftovers. Sometimes though it's difficult to eat all of the leftovers in time before the food goes bad and inevitably some of the food has to go in the trash. What if you were no longer able to legally throw the spoiled food in the trash?

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Food Scrap Disposal Changes are Coming for Massachusetts

You may recall back in November of 2022 there was a law passed in Massachusetts by MassDEP that expanded that state's waste disposal bans by lowering the threshold on commercial organic/food waste to facilities generating more than one-half ton of these materials per week. In addition, mattresses and textiles are no longer allowed to be put in the trash and landfills across Massachusetts. Focusing on the food waste disposal ban in particular, the plan is to eventually make it illegal for anyone to trash their food scraps in Massachusetts. It's all part of the state's plan to have zero waste.

A Better Way for Massachusetts

An alternative to tossing your food scraps in the trash is composting. I recently spoke with John Pitroff from Massachusetts-based company Second Chance Composting and he educated both myself and listeners on composting. Here's an excerpt of what John had to say about composting:

Composting is the natural breakdown of organic material. Anything that you can think of that you would throw in your trash that's natural, we can compost. So food scraps, leaves, pumpkins, wood chips, sawdust, trees, plant clippings etc. We take all of that material and mix it together, and you get a certain ratio and a certain recipe of materials and you create this big pile called windrows and it all breaks down into a living thing. It's a nutrient-rich soil amendment called compost which you add to your soil in your garden and/or farm to grow more things.

What About The Food Scraps That Don't Get Composted and End Up in Landfills?

John also mentioned that food scraps that sit in landfills with other materials like metal, glasses, plastic, and cardboard will create methane gas because the scraps sit amongst the aforementioned materials and they're not getting proper aeration. This all leads to polluting the environment. John said that by being part of a composting system you're no longer part of a waste system instead you're part of a renewal system.

Massachusetts Residents Are Eventually Going to Have to Change Their Trash Habits Particularly with Food Scraps

John mentioned that the state of Massachusetts is working on mandates where you can't throw food scraps in the trash. He stated that Vermont already has mandates in place that prevent people from trashing their food scraps. Massachusetts is working toward that goal. John mentioned if people don't know about composting now they're going to have to learn about it soon so they can be ready for the change. No matter where you live in Massachusetts whether it's Boston, Worcester, Adams, Westfield, Pittsfield, etc. people are eventually going to have to get on board with the upcoming food scrap disposal changes. You can read more about Massachusetts' 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan by going here. If you want to become more educated about composting, the process, and how you can compost yourself you can email: info@secondchancecomposting.com

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