As of October 2014, it is illegal for companies in Massachusetts to throw away more than 1 ton/week of organic waste. In spring-summer 2015, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) developed legal guides on the federal and state laws impacting date labeling, tax incentives, and liability protections in Massachusetts. These guides were prepared for RecyclingWorks and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (Mass DEP) as they implement out the organic waste ban across the state.
Throughout the spring, Mass DEP and RecyclingWorks hosted public meetings to hear from stakeholders about the opportunities and challenges created by this law. FLPC students and staff presented at these stakeholder meetings and answered legal questions that arose in the discussions.
As companies seek options to comply with the ban and reduce their food waste, many are starting food donation programs. The purpose of these legal guides is to answer some of the most common legal questions raised by stakeholders regarding food donation and food recovery. FLPC also assisted MassDEP and RecyclingWorks in preparing a guide to best practices for food donation in Massachusetts, which will be released in fall 2015.