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February 2007

Massachusetts investigation finds excessive cardboard disposal
One of every five solid waste truckloads were found to be in violation

A number of well-known Massachusetts businesses and institutions continue to throw away large volumes of easy-to-recycle cardboard in spite of a state ban on its disposal, savings on disposal costs and its value as a commodity, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) reported. For the first time, the agency has taken enforcement actions against waste ban violators.

“Continued disposal of recyclables is a needless waste of money, raw material, and in-state disposal capacity,” said MassDEP Acting Commissioner Arleen O’Donnell. “Diverting material from trash dumpsters to recycling bins saves everyone money.”

MassDEP estimates that over 1.5 million tons of paper products are still being disposed in landfills and incinerators across the state every year at an average cost of $70 per ton – up to $105 million in recycling savings for business and communities.

As part of a statewide campaign to cut down on continued disposal of cardboard and other easy-to-recycle materials, MassDEP sent inspectors to a number of solid waste facilities during the fall to monitor compliance with a state regulation that prohibits throwing those materials away.

One of every five truckloads of solid waste that inspectors observed were found to be in violation of state bans on disposal of large amounts of recyclables. One-third of the violations involved excessive amounts of cardboard – up to 40 percent of the material being thrown away, in some cases.

MassDEP cited 12 companies and organizations for illegal cardboard disposal from 9 locations:

Waste hauling companies cited were: Allied Disposal of Quincy, BFI Waste Systems of Revere and Yarmouth, Frade’s Disposal of New Bedford, and Waste Management of South Hadley and Stoughton.

Nine facilities that generated the material: American Red Cross of Dedham, Building 19 of Lynn, Ethan Allen Furniture of Bellingham, Friendly Fruit of New Bedford, Home Depot stores in Hyannis and Wareham, Lindenmeyr Munroe of Franklin, Westfield State College of Westfield, and Wright Line of Worcester.

The violators were continuing to throw cardboard away in spite of MassDEP efforts to educate waste haulers and generators about the disposal bans last spring, and ongoing opportunities for businesses and municipalities to become better acquainted with waste ban requirements.

Each violator was issued a notice of noncompliance with the waste ban regulation, and required to draw up a plan to stop the disposal of banned materials and submit the plan to MassDEP for approval.

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