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home | Insights! | Massachusetts To Ban . . .

Massachusetts To Ban Solid Food Waste from Landfills From Large Foodservice Operations

Boston, MA -- December 20, 2012 For over two decades, the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) has been helping restaurants get to Near-Zero Waste™ - all while conserving precious resources, saving money and staying ahead of legislation. As the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) drafted regulations to require large-scale food service operations to compost commercial food waste, the GRA will continue to help Massachusetts's restaurants take environmental steps to divert up to 95% of their waste from landfills.

Starting in January 2014, MassDEP plans to require composting from large-scale foodservice operations -- including food and beverage manufacturers, grocery stores, wholesale distributors, universities and correctional facilities. This upcoming mandate is an addition to the state's existing Solid Waste Ban, which already requires full-scale recycling programs.

"Our goal is to increase food waste diversion by 350,000 tons per year by 2020," says John Fischer, the Branch Chief of Waste Planning and Commercial Waste Reduction? for MassDEP. "We expect that the commercial organics ban will ultimately drive a large portion of this, but not necessarily all, as some of the added diversion would come from small businesses and residents not subject to the ban."

Food Waste Ban Details:

• In effect: January 1, 2014 • Companies affected: Foodservice operations in Massachusetts that generate one ton of commercial food waste per week or more • First fine violation: $860-$1,725

Once composting programs are implemented, large-scale food service operations will reap the benefits. After all, composting and recycling make financial sense; when food services send less waste to landfills, they will reduce their waste-hauler costs. Not to mention, food service operations that compost will satisfy more customers and employees, as 79% of people prefer to dine at Certified Green Restaurants® that implement environmental changes such as composting, while 78% of employees prefer to work at Certified Green Restaurants®.

"We recommend that companies implement these environmental changes now, rather than wait until December of 2013. At that point, everyone will be doing it, and you'll miss out on the opportunity to demonstrate your environmental leadership to your community. Plus, by starting early, you can ensure that the program is running smoothly before any chance of enforcement action or lofty fines" says Michael Oshman, the CEO and Founder of the Green Restaurant Association. "This is a growing trend. Over the past 22 years, we've seen waste and packaging bans spread throughout the United States. We strongly encourage restaurants across the country to not wait until composting is mandated in their state."

About the Green Restaurant Association The Green Restaurant Association is a national non-profit organization that provides the only official Certified Green Restaurants® mark in the country. For 22 years, the GRA has pioneered the Green Restaurant® movement and has been the leading voice within the industry encouraging restaurants to listen to consumer demand and green their operations using transparent, science-based certification standards. With their turnkey certification system, the GRA has made it easy for thousands of restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable in a profitable manner. The GRA is endorsed by scores of national environmental organizations such as NRDC, and esteemed trade organizations including the New York State Restaurant Association, Orange County Restaurant Association and America Public Garden Association. The GRA is also an Energy Star partner. In 2010, CitySearch announced the GRA as their official Green Restaurant® listing partner. The GRA has been featured on CNN, NBC Nightly News, NPR and in The New York Times and The Washington Post. For more information, visit

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