MassPIRG report suggests mandatory composting


MassPIRG report suggests mandatory composting

The MassPIRG Education Fund, along with Frontier Group and other public interest organizations, has released a report emphasizing the urgent need for the United States to transition towards a zero-waste economy. Titled “Trash in America: Moving from destructive consumption towards a zero-waste system,” the report scrutinizes the nation’s escalating waste issues over the past three years and proposes ten actionable strategies aimed at mitigating waste and fostering sustainable practices.

Highlighting the staggering statistic that the average American discards nearly 1,800 pounds of trash annually, the report underscores the environmental impact of such waste, particularly in Massachusetts where it culminates in nearly 6 million tons of waste each year. A significant portion of this waste, according to MassPIRG, is either compostable or recyclable, with a pressing need to eliminate environmentally detrimental items like single-use plastic bags.

The report’s ten-step roadmap for achieving a zero-waste future encompasses a comprehensive approach involving mandates on producers for the lifecycle management of their products, universal accessibility to recycling and composting services, and the integration of recycled materials in new products. Additionally, it advocates for the compulsory recyclability or compostability of all single-use items, substantial investment in recycling and composting infrastructure, and the adoption of circular economy principles.

In light of the pandemic’s adverse effects on waste reduction efforts, the report also acknowledges the temporary resurgence of single-use plastics and disposable packaging. Nevertheless, it celebrates the regained momentum towards waste reduction, highlighted by the adoption of single-use plastic bans in four states over the past year, and Maine’s pioneering producer responsibility law.

Massachusetts stands at the forefront of these initiatives, with several bills already introduced in the state legislature that align with the report’s recommendations, including legislation on producer responsibility, recycling enhancement, device repairability, and the prohibition of specific single-use plastics.

The report’s co-authors and MassPIRG representatives advocate for a systemic shift towards product designs that prioritize zero waste and the development of supportive infrastructure, aligning with Massachusetts’ ambitions as outlined in its 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan. This comprehensive approach underscores a collective movement towards environmental sustainability and waste minimization, offering a blueprint for other states to follow in Massachusetts’ footsteps.

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