New waste bans are now in effect

New statewide waste disposal regulations went into effect Tuesday. — Abigail Rosen

Beginning Tuesday, new waste ban regulations have gone into effect in Massachusetts, as part of a larger statewide initiative to reduce excess trash disposal and promote reuse and recycling.

The new ban prohibits disposing of mattresses and textiles, with the aim of taking advantage of recycling and reusing the materials. Each year throughout the state, more than 200,000 tons of textiles find their way into the trash, and then landfills. Through the new regulations, old clothing, towels, linens, belts, bags, and shoes are slated to be recycled via textile recovery organizations that repurpose the materials into carpet padding and insulation, among other things.

Mattresses, the release states, also can often be broken down and recycled — even those consisting of pieces of metal (springs) or wood (slats).

Per the release, “Massachusetts generates approximately 600,000 unwanted mattresses per year, about 200,000 of them from residents.” Through grants, the state has been able to establish over 100 mattress recycling programs, with the goal of increasing both capacity to manage the volume of mattresses and job opportunities.

Despite the new statewide regulations, many Vineyarders may not notice much of a difference when it comes to getting rid of an old mattress. Beginning in 2020, Martha’s Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery has prohibited mattresses from being thrown into the dump; rather, a designated adjacent container has been in place to take the unwanted beds. 

District manager Don Hatch told The Times that after said containers are filled, the mattresses are taken via trucks to Rochester’s Southeastern Massachusetts (SEMASS) Resource Recovery Facility, where the waste is converted into energy through the steam generated by combustion. According to their website, SEMASS annually processes more than a million tons of waste that would otherwise have ended up in landfills. 

Residents Islandwide can get rid of their old mattresses at the MV Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District located in Edgartown at 750 Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. The fee for disposing of mattresses and box springs are $50 and $10, respectively.

Additionally, per the press release, the codified regulation lowers the threshold for how much food waste can be disposed of weekly by businesses and institutions to half a ton.

Food waste accounts for more than one-fifth of the refuse accumulated in the state, the release states, which has prompted thousands of businesses to already enact more sustainable practices in the state’s 2021 food waste collection program.

A press release issued on Tuesday by the Baker-Polito administration cited Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card: “In order to meet the important goals outlined in the 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, the Baker-Polito administration has focused on reducing waste disposal, while also increasing recycling, diversion, reuse, and composting measures … These regulations and the supporting strategies that are being implemented today will continue our nation-leading efforts, and jump-start waste diversion work that is occurring across the commonwealth.”

These changes are part of the state’s 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, which is working to reduce waste disposal by 30 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050. 



  1. I don’t even know where to start on this one.
    But first, ban disposable diapers.
    And yes, I have a daughter. We never used disposable diapers.
    You still have to wipe the baby’s ass. And people complain that they are going broke because of inflation— My advice to parents of infants— get some cloth diapers and save yourself a few thousand dollars — and keep about 1000 pounds of trash per baby per year out of the waste stream
    If you don’t want to deal with the poop, any parent should be able to use cloth diapers when they know baby will only pee, which is most of the time.
    If you are new parents, and are at all concerned about this environmental issue, please look into it.

    • HA, HA Disposable diapers were the “global warming” crisis of the time when my oldest was born in the 1980’s. The world was running out of landfill space because of them. Yup, it was diapers that were our eventual environmental downfall. We actually tried cloth…it was really stupid and did not help the environment in any measurable way. Just a really nasty backwards way of people virtual signaling back then. Now we have social media and the MV Times to showcase how virtuous we are!

      • Wait a minute, stupid? I had four babies, used only cloth diapers for three of them. Remove the diaper, dip the doo into the toilet, place the diaper into a bucket with soapy water and a little bleach. Two or three times a week I would get out the scrub board and tub, scrub them, rinse them, and hang them to dry. A washing machine would’ve been wonderful but back then we didn’t have one. I was a stay at home mom, and there was time for me to do this, plus it was a ritual that I did enjoy. Most people nowadays don’t have time for this, and so many have gotten away from the nittier-grittier aspects of life. It’s much easier to make the poo disappear in plastic wrapping. The thought of touching it is more than some people can bear.
        So, stupid-no, nor was it virtue signaling. It was just a choice that some people made. Perhaps you should stop and consider the number of babies born since the introduction of plastic diapers, then try and wrap your head around the sheer quantity of these items that are taking forever to break down in our landfills.
        This is a conversation; why immediately leap into attack mode?

      • John– Have you noticed that we did in fact run out of landfill space and that all of our trash is now shipped to some other facility off island where it is mostly burned because they don’t have any landfill space there either?
        Perhaps if you had bothered to figure out the proper way to use cloth diapers they wouldn’t have seemed so stupid. It’s not really that difficult, you just have to be smarter than the diaper.
        Using cloth diapers doesn’t have anything to do with “virtue signaling”. Please save that dog whistle for those people trying to save the “unborn” and telling us about who we should love. You don’t think banning books in schools that are about LGBTQ issues or trying to make sure the white children of racist don’t feel “uncomfortable” because their ancestors owned the ancestors of the black children isn’t virtue signaling ? . If you are going to “virtue signal” about how “virtual” you are, you could at least spell it correctly.

      • Dana:
        My mother raised three children-in-diapers right here on Martha’s Vineyard using cloth diapers. There wasn’t anything else!!! The Wasteful Revolution was still in the future. She washed them by hand and hung them out to dry until, I believe, the last one, when she was given a washing machine. Still hung them out to dry, though.

        The waste- and resource-aware will immediately cease use of wasteful driers and air-dry their wash.

    • Ban big cars, ban diapers, ban big houses, close down coal mines in WV and Kentucky, ride bikes, use less electricity, dont wash to often, dont water your lawn and garden, have fewer children, dont drive as much, spend less time travelling and live a penurious lifestyle like a monk but shaving ones head is optional. Our whole lives should be dedicated to saving the planet for our grandchildren. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Worship at the feet of Kerry and DiCaprio and Greta.

      • Andy, thanks for confirming what we’ve all suspected all along. You care about no one except yourself, including your grandchildren. If I were you, I’d be worried about which direction this god you believe in sends you when it’s your time.

        • Mr Donovan, I do care about my children. I have all 5 of them in Christian schools and I am certain they wont become liberals. They have been told since very early age that Dems have tails and horns so they are sensitized to the conservative view. They are good stewards of the earth but are not afraid of an apocalypse.

          • very well done comrade. You have indoctrinated your children with fear and lies. The motherland is proud of you.
            Your may not be worried about an apocalypse, but the thought of being condemned to spending eternity in unfathomable pain and suffering has probably helped with your indoctrination campaign. After all, all you need do to wind up in that situation is to believe in Jesus, right ? All others are cast into the fire to suffer for eternity. That lie had me convinced until I reached the age of reason.
            But I am not as worried that our children will be victims of the apocalypse we caused as I am about our grandchildren.
            We all know that our coastal cities will not be underwater in the next 50 years, but perhaps in a hundred. There will be plenty of people on earth then who are unborn now.
            Do not care about all those unborn people ?
            And the comments were about you not caring about your grandchildren.
            I am curious as to why you think your children are “good stewards” of the earth. Do they use cloth diapers on your grandchildren and hang them on a clothesline to dry? Do they drive electric cars, ride their bikes a lot, live in small houses, mow their lawns by hand and use no chemical fertilizers or herbicides, stay off of airplanes, have vegan diets, and recycle everything they can?
            I hope so, their children’s future depends on it.

        • Albert– It would be impractical to import coal to burn here, but we could really benefit from a used tire incinerator. Especially if those silly government regulators left us alone and not require any of those useless silly air quality regulations. We could throw used motor oil in there also.
          Who would care if a few liberal snowflakes complained about the soot and the smell ?

      • And I used cloth diapers for my children, and still have the holes in my thumbs from diaper pin sticks to prove it. You haven’t lived until you’ve changed cloth diapers in the middle of the night.

      • andy– you got it right.  I happen to care about the quality of life that my grandchildren will have. It is obvious that you couldn’t care less about yours or anyone else’s’ grandchildren. It’s transparently clear that you are just virtue signaling about the unborn, in an attempt to impress the cultist of a guy that died 2000 years ago.   No one is worshiping at the feet of Kerry, DiCaprio, Greta or anyone else. But I listen to them and I am inspired by what they are saying to try to convince knuckleheaded politicians that we have a serious problem . Even you have finally decided to believe some of the science and the obvious consequences that are occurring worldwide. Even the blind will believe there is a wall in front of them if they walk into it enough times.
        You can worship at the feet of whoever you want ,all you want, no one is banning that– Merry Christmas a little early by the way— but it’s not going to save future generations from the wanton (or wonton as one of the people you worship said)  destruction that you, and every one of us is part of.
        At least some of us are trying to afford a better life for all those unborn alleged “babies” you are trying to save.  
        And you got it right twice in your comment.
        You are not part of the solution. 

        • Climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who has been propped up by global elites and central planners since she was a child, is finally admitting her activism isn’t about saving the environment. Instead, it’s about tearing down capitalism and implementing communist, government controlled systems around the world. Greta used to say her goal was to protect the planet from climate change but she now admits it’s to overthrow “the whole capitalist system,” which she says is responsible for “imperialism, oppression, genocide.. racist, oppressive extractionism whatever that is. Keller and Donavan remain humorless and officious

          • Actually Andy, I have a very active sense of humor and can find comedy and humor in pretty much anything. The problem is we all know your first comment above is your attempt at sarcasm and is the complete opposite of what you truly believe. And sadly, there is nothing humorous about what you believe.

          • andy– you seem to have a rather unnatural obsession with a Swedish teenager. It seems to be severe enough that you will flat out lie about her.
            As you have noted, I do some rather thorough research about some things. I did find an edited clip that was likely produced by the ceo of Aramco, in which it appears she says climate change doesn’t exist.
            But the wilfully ignorant and those blinded by the religion of fossil fuel will never accept any factual data, and will attempt to tear down the credibility of anyone who disagrees with their agenda. Even an autistic teenager. A little girl who has struggled so courageously to overcome her disabilities.
            But then you go further, and exaggerate and embellish the lie. And a lie it is,andy— you know it, I know it, the readers here know it, and Jesus knows it. You can quote a few out of context phrases she has uttered in an attempt to discredit her. I understand why. You are so hopelessly entrenched in your “religion” of hating anything progressive or benefiting anyone other than yourself and your entitled comrades but have no valid argument or accurate facts, you have no alternative but to attack the character of others with bold faced lies and deceptions.
            And about trying to discredit people, I guess we just have a different sense of humor. You think those posts on the internet about Obama’s oversized ears or Biden falling off his bike or fake comments by liberal politicians are really funny.
            I think that your comment that Donavan and I don’t have a sense of humor is hilarious.

            I guess it’s all about timing.

            I will attempt to find some compassion for you while I eat a hearty meal of organic pasta with organic veggies with some plant based ground “beef” this evening.

  2. Disposable diapers—basically untreated feces—should be banned in landfills.
    As a teenager I did a lot of babysitting and mother’s-helper-ing, also for infants and toddlers who still needed diaper changes.
    Back then there were diaper services, at least off-Island. The soiled diapers were put into a large enamel pail that had a cover and was kept near the toilet; it held a solution of some kind of disinfectant. The poop was dropped into the toilet prior to the diaper going into the pail. The diaper service picked up the used diapers twice a week or so and left a pile of clean diapers of the proper size. The diapers were washed in industrial machines.
    I reckon this was the most efficient and resource-friendly way to deal with dirty diapers.

    I was surprised to learn that in Tisbury one is now obliged to pay $2 to put a small amount of food waste into the food waste bins for composting.

    So, I am expected to continue to conscientiously save food waste for composting, use up space in my fridge to store it until I have enough to justify driving it to the landfill, then use gas to drive up there, and then PAY TWO DOLLARS to keep two pints of food waste out of the waste stream??

    Really? I don’t think so.

    • Katherine– I am with you about the compost. I didn’t know they charge for it at the transfer station. It really should be free.
      But there are many options for food waste- I am fortunate to have some land and a garden.
      Also, as an “average carpenter” I have the means to build my own compost bin. I have designed one that is rodent “proof” and it works great. Two of my neighbors also put their food scraps in it. There are quite a few composting bin style and prices– I think for most people a small tumbler is adequate.
      I also recycle and in the winter have a wood stove to burn paper products, so my household (3 people) only generates about one bag of trash a month. If I had food waste in it, it would really stink by the time the can was full. Especially if I threw disposable diapers in it.
      But I came across this interesting product a while ago.
      And a promotional video;
      Of course andy and axel will point out it uses electricity, and it does not make what I would consider compost, but it seems to be a pretty good product for people who live in apartments and have no land available to them. It basically just grinds stuff up and dries it out.
      Of course in the winter the heat goes into the house and cuts down on your heating bill.
      How’s that for a “spin” ?
      You could even share it with some friends to cut down on the cost.
      There are solutions.

      • Congratulations on your garden and your wood stove.
        And thanks for all the mansplaining.
        I don’t recall asking you for advice.
        Honestly, you’d think you think I was born yesterday.

        • Katherine– I guess I don’t fully understand “mansplaining” .
          Posting a link to composters, or a device that deals with food waste that I am sure not many people know about is not “mansplaining”.
          If you read my comment, I am not offering you any advice.
          You can do whatever you want with your kitchen scraps.
          I don’t think you were born yesterday. I was actually agreeing with you about the ridiculousness of the dump policy regarding organic waste. The topic was about reducing the amount of waste that winds up being transported off island . I was offering some suggestions to the readers at large. Where did mansplaining come into it ?
          I would have posted the same comment regardless of the gender of the person I was replying to.
          I think you have taken my comment in a way it was not intended.
          I apologize if you were offended.

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