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Solid Waste


RecyclingThe Cape Cod Commission's mission focuses on environmental quality. Managing the various waste streams on Cape Cod is critical to protecting our air, soil, and drinking water supplies. The Cape Cod Commission Act passed in 1990 calls for the provision of adequate capital facilities including solid, sanitary, and hazardous waste disposal facilities. In addition,  the Cape Cod Regional Policy Plan outlines goals, recommended actions, and performance standards for, among other significant issues, solid waste management and recycling, hazardous waste management, and water quality and wastewater management.

As technology has progressed, the region's solid waste has become an important commodity in energy production. The Commission is committed to pursuing regional collaborations for managing the Cape's waste streams and leveraging these materials in ways that protect the environment and promote renewable sources of energy.


Solid Waste

Since 1990, the Cape Cod Commission has helped Cape towns identify alternative disposal methods to unlined landfills. The Commission's efforts support an integrated approach to managing wastes, focusing on waste reduction, recycling, and composting to supplement waste disposal by transfer to the SEMASS waste-to-energy incineration facility off Cape.

In 2015 many of the contracts between SEMASS and the Cape towns will expire. Through the formation of the Cape Cod Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC), towns have come together to discuss the future of solid waste disposal and to identify regional solutions to solid waste and recycling. In keeping with the commitment to environmental quality, the Commission has facilitated the group's efforts (see also reports and presentations listed in the sidebar).

In early May 2013, the regional collaboration process resulted in a proposed term sheet outlining the major terms negotiated with Covanta/SEMASS on behalf of Cape Cod and off-Cape communities via the SWAC.

Through additional negotiations ending in August 2013, towns now have several options (see items shown as NEW! in the right-hand sidebar) offering competitively priced choices for establishing long-term municipal solid waste disposal contracts.

Questions may be directed to Cape Cod Commission Deputy Director Patty Daley.




Barnstable County's Cape Cod Cooperative Extension offers a listing of municipal collection sites and information on the various materials that can be recycled at each.

Solid Waste Disposal Resources:

New Bedford Waste Services - Waste Disposal Agreement - Exhibit A (September 2013)

Presentations from 8/27/13 SWAC Meeting:

- Covanta/SEMASS PowerPoint presentation
- Covanta/SEMASS Video presentation
- New Bedford Waste Services/Zero Waste Solutions PowerPoint presentation


Older Resources:

Evaluation of Future Disposal Alternatives for Municipal Solid Waste - report, April 2010

CDM Summary Report: Municipal Solid Waste Disposal Alternatives Analysis - slide presentation to the Barnstable County Commissioners, April 2010

Long-term Solid Waste Disposal Alternatives - Phase One Report - Cape Cod Commission, December 2007

Bag of trashOver the years, the Cape Cod Commission also prepared a variety of presentations and reports on solid waste and recycling issues pertinent to Cape Cod towns. They are available through the Resource Center.

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