Pioneer Valley
Planning Commission

Eric Carle Museum, Amherst, MA
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Media Release

CONTACT: Danielle McKahn, PVPC Land Use Planner, (413) 781-6045

March 22, 2011

Organic Waste Study Completed for Central Pioneer Valley Area

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission has completed its evaluation of the costs and benefits of increasing food waste composting infrastructure in the central Pioneer Valley, an area defined to include Amherst, Belchertown, Easthampton, Granby, Hadley, Hatfield, Northampton, South Hadley, Southampton, and the Hampshire County Hilltowns of Chesterfield, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington.

This effort quantified and characterized food waste being generated in the region, estimated the proportion of food waste currently collected for composting, and identified costs and potential sources of revenue associated with additional food waste composting.

PVPC also reviewed organic waste management programs to determine desirable characteristics of regional programs, characteristics that contribute to program failure or instability, and the potential utility of and roles for a regional organic waste management services program. The full report, which can be viewed at, includes a discussion of how regional efforts can help augment composting in the region.

This study was funded by a grant provided by through the Massachusetts District Local Technical Assistance Fund.

The initial study has led to continued efforts to augment composting and develop composting system capacity in the Pioneer Valley. In collaboration with the Center for Ecological Technology, PVPC was recently awarded a $30,000 Sustainable Materials Recovery Program Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to establish a matchmaking service for composting facilities and organic waste generators in the Pioneer Valley. This project will identify large un-served food waste generators in the region, recruit those who are interested in diverting organic waste for composting, work to match these waste generators with appropriate haulers and composting facilities, and provide technical assistance to these generators to help establish their on-site food waste diversion systems. Smaller generators, as well as municipal diversion efforts and small-scale farm-based composting, will also receive technical assistance as requested and as funding allows. Regional food waste diversion will be mapped in order to help haulers improve the density of their routes and to provide information about the best possible locations for permanent or mobile food waste processing units.

For more information, contact Danielle McKahn, PVPC Land Use Planner, at (413) 781-6045.

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