Archive 2008 - 2019

Ten-Year Plan for Dealing with the Commonwealth's Waste

by Janet S. Domenitz

As I write this note, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff is meeting behind closed doors to draft a ten-year plan for dealing with the Commonwealth's waste.

The details of the plan will be extensive, complicated and hefty. But the choice facing the DEP is simple: Will we continue down the path of burn/bury/pollute, as the waste industry is pushing for, or will we embrace a cleaner/smarter/healthier goal of reduce/reuse/recycle?

Tell DEP Commissioner Laurie Burt to support Reduce/Reuse/Recycle: The Zero Waste Solution.

In 2007, we sent more than half our waste to incinerators and landfills. Incinerators emit mercury, lead, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants into our air. Landfills pollute groundwater and serve as burial grounds for valuable resources.

It doesn't have to be this way. There are places in our state, our country, and in other parts of the world where they are doing so much better. For example, less than 5% of plastic bags are recycled, with the remaining 95% being burned or buried. But on Nantucket, plastic bags were banned years ago.

Or consider the City of San Francisco. On their website, they invite us to "Imagine a world in which nothing goes to the landfills or incinerators. We think it's achievable, and we're doing everything we can to make it happen.... Today, San Francisco recovers 72% of the materials it discards, bringing the city ever closer to its goals of 75% landfill diversion by 2010, and bringing the city to zero waste by 2020."

we have a problem

Lobbyists from the waste industry are working overtime to make sure we keep burning and burying our waste. That's why the DEP needs to hear from you.

Please take a minute to email DEP Commissioner Laurie Burt, and tell her we don't want Massachusetts to continue burning and burying and producing more waste? Please tell her you support Reduce/Reuse/Recycle: The Zero Waste Solution.

Janet S. Domenitz
MASSPIRG Executive Director

P.S. For more information about the Zero Waste Solution, click here: