Press Statement in regards to Department of Environmental Protection Release of the Commonwealth’s Draft Solid Waste Master Plan

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Press Statement in regards to Department of Environmental Protection  Release of the Commonwealth’s Draft Solid Waste Master Plan

September 26, 2019  Boston, MA, For Immediate Release

With the release today of the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, our organizations—MASSPIRG, Conservation Law Foundation, Toxics Action Center, and Clean Water Action/MA–are taking the opportunity to assert three important points:

1-Product: We are calling for the Commonwealth’s goal for the next decade to be zero waste, not more solid waste. Burning and burying our waste is polluting and hazardous, especially  to the low-income communities and communities of color where landfills and incinerators are located. Recycling alone is not the solution to our disposal problem – we need to focus on reduction. Our coalition has prepared a ‘roadmap’ for achieving the realistic goal of zero waste by 2030 (attachment 1), which the Commonwealth should adopt. With the leadership of MassDEP, Massachusetts can take meaningful steps to protect the citizens and environment of the Commonwealth. . 

2-Process: The process for getting public input and feedback on this draft must be comprehensive, transparent, participatory, and rigorous. Our Commonwealth’s Environmental Justice Policy requires no less, and landfills and incinerators are located in Environmental Justice communities. With less than three days of notice given for the issuance of the draft Plan, it’s important to remind decision-makers that the law requires public input on this draft, and we will want more than the minimum required to ensure community voices are heard. 

3-Principles: As MassDEP drafts the Solid Waste Master Plan for the next decade, several principles should be adopted so that we reduce, reuse and recycle in the most sustainable, just, and ambitious way possible. Please see our statement of principles for the 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan (attachment 2)

Groups with landfills and trash incinerators in their community that are  active in this effort include: 

  • Arise for Social Justice

  • Berkshire Zero Waste, a Project of Berkshire Environmental Action Team 

  • Alliance for Health & the Environment

  • South Coast Neighbors United

  • Sustainable Middleborough