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Massachusetts expands list of items that are banned from going out in the trash

BOSTON, Mass. — The start of November brings a number of new waste disposal bans in the Bay State.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has added an array of new items to its list of materials that residents are not allowed to throw out for trash collection each week.

Effective Tuesday, mattresses left out on the curb will no longer be collected by waste disposal companies due to the inconveniences they present.

“Discarded mattresses can be difficult to manage. They are expensive to transport, hard to compact, take up lots of landfill space, and can damage incinerator processing equipment. Yet mattresses are made up mostly of recyclable materials. Once disassembled, more than 75 percent of their components can be reused. This is better for the environment, the economy, and municipal waste management budgets,” MassDEP said in a statement.

In addition to mattresses, the state has banned textiles including bedding, clothing, curtains, fabric, footwear, towels, and other similar items.

Instead of trashing textiles, the state is urging residents to “help put them into the hands of new owners or recycle their fibers into other products” because “virtually any textile can be reused, repurposed, or recycled if clean and dry.”

Textiles contaminated with mold, bodily fluids, insects, oil, or hazardous substances are exempt from the disposal ban.

Those who have mattresses or textiles to dispose of can use the Beyond the Bin search tool to find out how and where to donate or recycle items that can’t go in your home recycling bin and are too good to trash.

The City of Boston will continue to collect mattresses until Jan. 1, 2023, but officials are urging residents to recycle their unwanted goods.

The new bans also target businesses and institutions that dispose of one ton or more of food material per week, lowering the acceptable threshold on common waste to one-half ton.

Last fall, MassDEP issued its final 2030 “Solid Waste Master Plan,” establishing goals to reduce disposal statewide by 30 percent over the next decade. The plan set a long-term goal of achieving a 90 percent reduction in disposal to 570,000 tons by 2050.

Previously banned items include glass, metal, plastic containers, paper, cardboard, leaves, grass, large appliances, tires, old televisions and computer monitors, and constructions materials.

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