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Massachusetts faces a host of environmental and public health challenges that will likely take years to solve, require a tremendous amount of resources, and/or cannot be addressed without a regional or even a national approach. But one problem we can clearly solve in the near term is the amount of waste we discard that should be reduced, composted, or recycled. Waste disposal pollutes our environment, hurts public health, and is expensive and unsustainable. We can and must do more to reduce waste in our Commonwealth.

There is no silver bullet; we must deploy several tactics to reduce waste. The goal of this report is to shine a spotlight on the fact that every year in Massachusetts more than 2 million tons of waste (approximately 40% of total waste), which ends up in landfills, incinerators, or as litter, is composed of materials that were banned from disposal long ago by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection regulations. We hope that with more attention on this problem Massachusetts can launch an effective effort to eliminate this substantial portion of the waste stream.

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