Bay State Bombshell

In case you missed the big news, Massachusetts is set to ban commercial food waste from landfills by 2014. I included it in Friday’s post, but it deserves its own space.

The new regulations would herald a major change–a few cities have similar rules on the books, but no state does. The ruling would prompt businesses and commercial kitchens to approach food differently, hastening food waste reduction.

And the news gets even better–there are plans to expand the ban to household food waste by 2020.

Before this change occurs, the composting and biogas infrastructure need work. But a guaranteed flow of food waste business–an additional 350,000 tons of clams, cranberries, etc. per year–should prompt new facilities.

There have been a few expressions of concern, mostly on the cost for restaurants. While that’s to be expected, this should be a universal (or global) win. Given the expensive Mass. landfill rates of $60-90 per ton (national average is $45), finding alternative uses for food should be cheaper, in addition to environmentally preferable.

One thing that remains a mystery–is this a done deal? Or can lawmakers screw it up? The Globe article indicates the former. Let’s hope so!

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  1. Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I was thinking that in the long run, this would save restaurants money…both because they wouldn’t be wasting ingredients and because they wouldn’t be paying to dispose of the trash.

  2. WilliamB
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Frugal Girl, one factor is whether wasted less food would save restaurants money, is the labor vs. food cost comparison. Let’s say the last 10% of an onion takes 1 minute to mince evenly. The 10% of onion could cost less than that 1 minute of labor.

    That said, I’m definitely in favor of MA’s proposed law. The price of an onion doesn’t fully represent the environmental cost of growing it (most notably, fertilizer and transport), so the above price comparison is incomplete. Making food waste more expensive helps make the price of a. onion closer to the cost of an onion. I’m even more in favor if MA backs up the law with a compost bin pickup, to go with the trash bin and recycling bin pickups already in place.

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