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SAK Completes Statewide Solid Waste Characterization Study

Permitting & Compliance

SAK Completes Statewide Solid Waste Characterization Study

Nov 15, 2022

SAK Environmental LLC completed the field phase of a statewide solid waste characterization study for Massachusetts’s five regional waste-to-energy plants. These facilities process 60% of the state’s solid waste, converting it to electricity. With the help of MSW Consultants Inc., the 2nd sampling season was completed in November where a composite sample of solid waste was sorted into nine major categories (i.e. paper, plastics, metal, glass, organic, C&D, household hazardous waste, electronics, and other wastes) and sub-sorted into 63 subcategories.  

Why Does This Matter?

It matters because this triennial study is the basis from which regulators, policy makers, waste management companies, municipalities, recyclers, and environmental advocates make their decisions.  It benchmarks what’s left in the waste stream and the potential for further recycling and diversion efforts. Additionally, the New England region has an acute capacity problem to manage its own waste.  The result is soaring disposal costs.  These rising costs are already being passed along to consumers with some municipalities adopting “pay-as-you throw” programs.  In Massachusetts, the Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) new waste bans on mattresses and textiles, and the inclusion of businesses that generate > ½-ton per week (down from 1-ton) of organic waste (i.e. food) went into effect November 1, 2022 expanding the universe of what needs to recycled.

The New England solid waste market is going through a seismic shift where now more than ever recyclables are getting forced out of the trash and into a burgeoning recycling market. The cost for trash disposal will remain high because the region’s capacity has peaked. The cost to recycle will remain comparably high for the foreseeable future until more recycling plants come on line.  

Need Help? Call Us!

SAK helps clients manage their waste cost effectively by providing data-driven analysis of waste streams and diverted materials. Our services include:

  • Facility and enterprise wide waste characterization studies;

  • Solid waste management/recycling audits;

  • Development of recycling programs;

  • Zero Waste third party certification;

  • Beneficial Use Determination for manufacturing waste.

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