Improving Solid WasteManagement in MassachusettsApril 1, 2013
Copyright © 2013 WasteZero2Recycling – Good Policy and Good BusinessCities and towns are under enormous pressure to find s...
Copyright © 2013 WasteZero3About WasteZeroWasteZero works with 800 cities and towns across 42 states, helpingreduce waste ...
Copyright © 2013 WasteZero4What Are Other States Doing?A variety of states have adopted goals for recycling or solid waste...
Copyright © 2013 WasteZero5How Effective Has It Been?Results have been quite mixedIowa and Minnesota have seen strong resu...
Copyright © 2013 WasteZero6What Have Been the Problems?Goals are often unenforceable; they are goalsGoals fail to provide ...
Copyright © 2013 WasteZero7Considering a Performance StandardGood policy – and business – must be SMART. Is this?— Specifi...
Copyright © 2013 WasteZero8Our Read of SB 389Would create a step-down standard that reduces trash tonnage – and increasesr...
Copyright © 2013 WasteZero9Our ThinkingThe fact that we are having this discussion is a good sign!By focusing on waste, pr...
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Improving Solid Waste Management in Massachusetts

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Policy Workshop- Legislation on Mandatory Waste Reduction and Universal Recycling: Stephen Lisauskas, WasteZero presents in support of the bill SB 389 that would introduce a performance standard on municipal recycling.

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Improving Solid Waste Management in Massachusetts

  1. 1. Improving Solid WasteManagement in MassachusettsApril 1, 2013
  2. 2. Copyright © 2013 WasteZero2Recycling – Good Policy and Good BusinessCities and towns are under enormous pressure to find savings withinmunicipal budgets.Producers and manufacturers are looking to meet sustainability goals andreduce costs.The key for both is increased recycling, which will give municipalitiesbudget relief while creating sustainably sourced feedstock for producers.There is also a crisis, as landfill space is being filled quickly, which willrequire the addition of new incinerators or even more waste exports.
  3. 3. Copyright © 2013 WasteZero3About WasteZeroWasteZero works with 800 cities and towns across 42 states, helpingreduce waste and increase recycling.We see what works – and what doesn’t – at the state and local level.Utilizing this broad perspective, we support legislation that will:— Increase recycling— Reduce waste— Improve the fiscal health of municipalities— Improve the environment— Create sustainable jobsWe have offices in Cambridge, MA; Raleigh, NC; Chicago, IL; and MurrellsInlet, SC
  4. 4. Copyright © 2013 WasteZero4What Are Other States Doing?A variety of states have adopted goals for recycling or solid waste— Iowa: 25% reduction in trash by 1994; 50% reduction by 2000— Minnesota: 1993: 25% reduction in rural counties, 35% in urban;1996 35% reduction in rural counties, 50% reduction inurban.— Missouri: 40% waste reduction by 1998— Nevada: 25% waste reduction goal— New Hampshire: 40% reduction in weight by 2000— Oregon: 45% materials recovery by 2005; 50% by 2009, with noincrease in per capita MSW totals— Rhode Island: Meet tonnage targets or pay a higher – though stillsubsidized – tipping fee— Tennessee: 25% reduction in non-C & D waste
  5. 5. Copyright © 2013 WasteZero5How Effective Has It Been?Results have been quite mixedIowa and Minnesota have seen strong results from waste reductionNew Hampshire and Rhode Island have not seen significant improvements— Enforcement has been lacking— Adding a few dollars per ton of waste – even on a base of $32 per ton – doesnot create sufficient incentive to actVermont is an interesting experiment; it is mandating unit-based pricing for allmunicipal solid waste services by 2015.
  6. 6. Copyright © 2013 WasteZero6What Have Been the Problems?Goals are often unenforceable; they are goalsGoals fail to provide an impetus to act – “they represent your priorities, notmine”Calculated measures – such as recycling rates – can be manipulated easily:— San Francisco – commercial and business tonnage counts— Florida counts incineration as recycling (and counts it twice if you host theincinerator!). Iowa counts it as recycling if your recycling rate is already 35%— The “good faith” exemption complicates things where it existsThey provide no incentive to source reduce – to avoid waste in the firstplace – or to pursue other important goals, such as organics diversion
  7. 7. Copyright © 2013 WasteZero7Considering a Performance StandardGood policy – and business – must be SMART. Is this?— Specific – The standard is specific and clear as to what is to be measured. Thereare no issues with the definition of the unit of measure— Measurable – “Tons of waste” is easily measurable. The data is easily accessibleand has historically been reported to DEP (not the case in many states)— Achievable – Depends on where you set the standard. The S 389 standards are setabove the level already achieved by many cities and towns— Realistic – If cities and towns are already beating the proposed standard, it must berealistic. Regulation may be appropriate to provide an outlet for municipalities thattry to achieve the standard but fail by no fault of their own— Time-bound – Municipalities have dozens of priorities, and changing solid waste isnot usually high among them. A deadline is critical if anything is to be achievedThere is robust precedent in Massachusetts for State-provided performance standards –education, affordable housing, pension fund management, health insurance costs
  8. 8. Copyright © 2013 WasteZero8Our Read of SB 389Would create a step-down standard that reduces trash tonnage – and increasesrecycling – over time• Assuming full compliance by 2020, an estimated 900,000 tons of trash wouldmove from trash to recycling, reuse, source reduction and other diversion• We know “better” is possible – a number of communities have prioritizedwaste reduction – Cambridge, Worcester and others – and have seenexcellent results. Many other communities have not• By controlling what can be controlled – trash tonnages – the standard wouldincentivize cities and towns to reduce all categories of “waste”, without theCommonwealth telling them how to do it• The proposed standard does not involve definitional issues or math; it isstraightforward, which reduces the risk of error (or “error”) in calculations
  9. 9. Copyright © 2013 WasteZero9Our ThinkingThe fact that we are having this discussion is a good sign!By focusing on waste, pressure is applied in an area where municipalitiesalready exercise significant controlPutting a “SMART” standard in place has achieved results in other areas ingovernment – health insurance, pension fund management, affordablehousing, education – and may here as wellGiven the pressing nature of the Commonwealth’s landfill issues, action –and results – are needed in the very near term to avoid higher costs, or theeventual expansion of disposal capacity in Massachusetts— Given the current landscape of solid waste management in Massachusetts, ifyou aren’t “for” waste reduction, you are “for”:• Lifting the incinerator cap• Licensing new landfills• Shipping more than half of our trash out of state each year

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