Stephen Lisauskas works as Regional Vice President of Municipal Partnerships for WasteZero, a certified B corporation that works with cities and towns nationwide to reduce municipal waste and associated costs. A founder of StatNet New England, Stephen Lisauskas stays current with Commonwealth of Massachusetts legislation relevant to StatNet goals for efficiency and effectiveness in local government.
House Bill H.2944 was referred to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture earlier this year. The bill proposes physical, financial, and data-driven measures to reduce solid waste in Massachusetts municipalities. The seven measures include:
1. Establishment of a solid waste management council
2. Increased collection of certain types of data
3. Surcharges on waste disposal
4. Pay as You Throw programs
5. Clear plastic bags for waste disposal
6. Recycling of mattresses, textiles, and organic material
7. Mandatory reporting of contamination
The proposed council would be composed of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) commissioner or designee, as well as representatives from the solid waste industry, waste reduction advocacy groups, and universities that study or teach about solid waste. The council would be tasked with developing a report on best practices in solid waste reduction and recommending the expenditure of funds collected from waste-disposal surcharges.
MassDEP would collect data on the percentage of materials that are recycled, composted, and discarded.
Operators of incinerators, landfills, and resource recovery facilities would be required to pay MassDEP a $5-per-ton surcharge for solid waste processed at their facilities.
Designed to decrease waste disposal by 30 percent over five years, Pay as You Throw programs would help municipalities reduce waste to no more than 450 pounds of waste per capita per year.
Clear plastic bags would enable MassDEP to better enforce bans of certain types of waste, including lead batteries, tires, leaves and yard waste, wood, and wallboard. Other banned items include recyclables such as aluminum, metal or glass containers, single-polymer plastics, and paper, among others. In addition, mattresses, textiles, and organic material would be banned from disposal unless the material is shown to be contaminated.