Changes to Solid Waste Disposal

This letter from the MASS DEP is the driving force behind the textile collection bins. We'll be installing a Mattress Collection receptacle at the Transfer Station soon. More info on that at a later date.

March 25, 2022

Dear Municipal Officials and Solid Waste Districts:

MassDEP’s 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan establishes goals to reduce disposal of solid waste by 30 percent (from 5.7 million tons in 2018 to 4 million tons in 2030) by the end of the decade.  It sets a long-term goal of achieving a 90 percent reduction in disposal to 570,000 tons by 2050.   To help reach these targets, MassDEP will expand its current waste disposal bans by:

•    Adding mattresses and textiles to the list of materials banned from disposal or transport for disposal in Massachusetts

•    Lowering the threshold on commercial organic/food waste to facilities generating more than one-half ton of these materials per week.

These new waste disposal bans will take effect November 1, 2022.  Below is information to assist you in understanding what the new waste bans will mean for your municipality:  

•    Mattresses and box springs are made up of almost entirely recyclable materials including metal, wood, textiles, and polyurethane foam.  They are difficult to manage at landfills and incinerators because they are bulky, hard to compact and can get caught in incinerator processing equipment. That is why most facilities currently apply surcharges to the disposal of these items. Information about mattress recycling may be found at this link.

•    Please see the new Frequently Asked Questions on Textiles and Mattresses on our website.  You may also wish to refer to the fact sheet: Your Municipality and Waste Ban Compliance.

•    Since 2016, MassDEP has provided over $2.3 million in grants for municipal mattress recycling programs.  This year’s grant will fund the purchase of large mattress collection containers for municipal transfer stations or drop-off sites.  The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grant application will be available April 13, 2022.  The application deadline is June 15, 2022.

•    There are four mattress recycling vendors on Massachusetts State Contract FAC90 that municipalities may purchase services from.  We recently opened the contract for additional vendors to insure there is enough mattress recycling capacity in the Commonwealth.  We expect to announce new vendors on state contract in June 2022.

•    Massachusetts residents and businesses dispose of more than 230,000 tons of clothing, footwear, and other textiles each year.  About 95 percent of this material could have been reused or recycled. More than 200 municipalities reported they have textile collection programs in 2020.  Demand for used clothing and textiles is high and many communities are receiving payments from their textile collection vendors.  Municipalities can use the Find a Recycler tool at to find textile recovery vendors.

•    MassDEP currently bans the disposal of commercial organic material by businesses and institutions that generate one ton or more per week.  Effective November 1, 2022, the threshold will be lowered to a half-ton or more per week.  The new threshold may impact a small number of large public schools and regional school districts.  Please see our Food Waste Estimator to estimate the amount of food waste generated in your community’s largest schools.  Assistance is available to implement organics collection programs through RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts.

•    Municipalities are encouraged to use their Recycling Dividends Program (RDP) funds to offset costs associated with mattress or textile collection programs.  MassDEP recommends that curbside trash collection contracts include language that states that the hauler should not actively collect “waste ban materials” for solid waste disposal.

•    As with all new waste bans, MassDEP’s initial focus will be on compliance assistance, rather than enforcement.

•    If you operate a solid waste transfer station, you will need to update your waste ban compliance plan.  You do not need to submit this plan but do need to submit a waste ban plan certification form to MassDEP.  You should contact the Solid Waste Section Chief in your MassDEP Regional Office with any questions on this.

Thank you for doing your part to keep recyclable, reusable and compostable materials out of landfills and incinerators and creating a greener, more sustainable Commonwealth. 

John Fischer

Deputy Division Director, Solid Waste