This summer the MassDEP Solid Waste Advisory Committee will begin reviewing “Pathway to Zero Waste,” the 2010-2020 Solid Waste Master Plan. While it may seem early for the Committee to start the process for a 2020 plan, this is a notoriously slow process. The MassDEP did not issue the 2010-2020 Master Plan until April of 2013, so starting three years before 2020 seems about right.
Although the Department has not set an agenda, the focus should be on raising the flattened waste reduction curve and responsibly managing the waste that is generated. Environmental groups will continue to advocate “zero waste,” pushing for more waste bans and better enforcement of existing bans. Meanwhile, they will continue to actively oppose expansions of existing disposal or new facilities by drumming up fears of public health and environment harm.
The solid waste industry has openly embraced economically viable zero waste solutions (while quietly investing in waste export rail infrastructure). Industry skepticism is fueled by the economic realities of a protracted soft market for recyclables, relatively low local disposal pricing and high profile siting battles. The wisdom of continued reliance on waste export as opposed to lifting the moratorium on new municipal solid waste combustion capacity will be front and center on the industry agenda.
For questions, call or email Tom Mackie a newly appointed member of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee.