It’s a laudable vision for Massachusetts: Work toward a “zero waste” future that maximizes recycling, minimizes waste and reduces consumption.
Such a garbage goal for the next decade is now being vetted in a draft solid waste master plan that was released early this month by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The third public hearing on the plan will be held tonight in Wilmington and two others will be held in September for the public to comment on the document. More information on those below.
Yet for local recycling activists who gathered with environmental groups and government officials earlier this week, the plan does not go far enough. While the draft plan maintains a moratorium on new incineration, the advocacy group Toxics Action Center says the DEP plan could allow certain types of gasification, a form of incineration that heats garbage to very high temperatures and turns it into gas that can be captured and burned offsite. They also propose allowing certain types of waste to be burned as fuel, the group says.
“We commend the state for adopting a goal of ‘Zero Waste’” said Linda Cocalis, chairwoman of the Sturbridge Board of Health. “But we urge DEP and Governor Patrick to close the door on new incineration.”
Sylvia Broude, Organizing Director for Toxics Action Center said “the nuts and bolts of the plan fall short of” a zero waste goal. "By allowing trash to be burned as fuel, DEP has created loopholes in the incinerator moratorium that conflict with true zero waste policies.”
State Department of Environmental officials released a statement: "The Solid Waste Master Plan continues to support the moratorium on new incinerators of municipal solid waste. The draft does not consider gasification as the equal to incineration if the syngas is turned into ethanol or certain industrial products. This is a draft, and we are seeking public comment on all the elements of the plan. We look forward to reviewing all comments on the issue of incineration and gasification that we receive during this public comment period, which closes on September 15."
For more information go to http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/priorities/dswmpu01.htm
About the green blog
Helping Boston live a greener, more environmentally friendly life.
Christopher Reidy covers business for the Globe.
Doug Struck covers environmental issues from Boston.
Glenn Yoder produces Boston.com's Lifestyle pages.
Eric Bauer is site architect of Boston.com.
Bennie DiNardo is the Boston Globe's deputy managing editor/multimedia.
Dara Olmsted is a local sustainability professional focusing on green living.