Waste Management

There are currently a few shared or regional waste management programs in Massachusetts. Types of service agreements range from intermunicipal agreements between two municipalities for sharing services or bidding, to regional districts created by special legislation.  The major benefit of regionalizing waste management services is cost savings achieved through economies of scale.  Regional programs have also often been more successful than individual municipalities at applying for and receiving grant funding.  Current state legislation allows municipalities to form both regional refuse disposal districts and joint recycling programs.

In addition to disposal, regional waste management activities are increasingly focused on preventing or reducing the impact of waste materials on human health and the environment as well as recovering resources from waste materials.

Statutory Requirements

Massachusetts municipalities are subject to multiple waste management laws and regulations related to both solid and hazardous waste.  The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is tasked with enforcement of these laws and regulations.  See Appendix below for DEP links.

Types of Agreements

There are two Massachusetts laws directly related to regionalizing waste management services: 1) M.G.L. 40:44A-44L refers to regional refuse disposal districts, and 2) M.G.L. 40 8H refers specifically to regional recycling programs. Creation of either regional entity requires a vote by town meeting, town council, or city council. In the case of the regional refuse disposal district, governance will be through a district committee. In the case of regional recycling programs, governance will be determined by the agreement. Financing the district will be determined by the district committee for regional refuse districts and by the agreement in regional recycling programs. Municipalities have also used intermunicipal agreements and received special legislation to share waste management services.


Analysis of Regional Refuse Disposal District legislation (M.G.L. c.40, s44A-44L): http://www.mass.gov/dor/docs/dls/mdmstuf/technical-assistance/region-resource/regrefuse.pdf

Analysis of Joint Recycling Program legislation (M.G.L. c.40, s.8H): http://www.mass.gov/dor/docs/dls/mdmstuf/technical-assistance/region-resource/jointrecycle.pdf

Cape Cod Commission Waste Management:

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Regional Organic Waste Management Program:


North Central Regional Solid Waste Cooperative: http://www.northcentralmassrecycles.com/
Franklin County Solid Waste Management District: http://www.franklincountywastedistrict.org/
Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District: http://www.nbswmd.org/
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection http://www.mass.gov/dep/index.htm
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Laws and Regulations: http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/laws/regulati.htm
Central Connecticut Solid Waste Authority: http://www.crcog.org/municipal_ser/sw.html

Shared Waste Management in Massachusetts

The Franklin County Solid Waste District
The District was formed by special legislation as an agreement among 22 towns. The District manages all aspects of participants’ solid waste and provides administrative support, professional consultation, trainings, and outreach to residents and businesses.

The North Central Regional Solid Waste Cooperative (NCRSWC)
The Cooperative was established through grants from the State and consists of 11 communities. The Cooperative provides group buying power and technical assistance to its communities in all areas of solid waste handling.

The Northern Berkshire Solid Waste District
The District was formed through special legislation signed by the governor and includes 12 district member towns. Contracts for transportation and disposal of solid waste and recyclables are bid, negotiated and monitored by the District. The District staff provides mandatory transfer station inspections, a website with waste management and recycling information, and offer recycling classes.

Shared Waste Management Outside Massachusetts:

The Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG):
CRCOG provides administrative support for the Central Connecticut Solid Waste Authority. The Authority is an independent entity that works with 21 communities in northwestern Connecticut. For more information see Appendix.