Community Action Works
Community Action Works

What should Massachusetts do with our trash?

When our trash doesn’t get reduced, reused or recycled, people living next to landfills and trash incinerators pay the price.

In Massachusetts, some of those communities are Springfield and Saugus.

More than 10 years ago, a biomass incinerator was proposed in Springfield, MA that would burn things like trash and wood. That’s in addition to the trash incinerator already polluting the community just next door in Agawam.

For more than 10 years, activists led by Arise for Social Justice have taken sustained action to keep it from being built.

In Saugus, there’s a trash incinerator that pollutes the air in all three communities, and a landfill nearly 50 feet high for the remaining toxic ash—built right in the middle of an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Neighbors like Selectwoman Deb Panetta and State Representative RoseLee Vincent of Alliance for Health and Environment have been fighting this dangerous facility for years.

Now, those same neighbors are working for solutions. The state is drafting a 10-year plan for how we’ll deal with our trash, and communities like Springfield and Saugus from across the state are coming together to make sure that plan moves us towards zero waste solutions.

Putting an incinerator in Springfield is no way to deal with our trash. For the past two years, Springfield has been named the asthma capital of the U.S. Another incinerator would make the air quality worse in an area already overburdened with air pollution.

And in Saugus, the incinerator has burned 1,500 tons of trash nearly every day since it opened in 1975, releasing a constant plume of pollution and leaving behind tons of toxic ash to be buried in an unlined landfill on site.

Those are just a couple reasons why neighbors are calling for an end to incineration in the state’s next 10-year solid waste plan. But we also need to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost.

Community Action Works is bringing together community leaders fighting landfills and incinerators in their own backyards from Springfield to Saugus and beyond to make sure the state’s next 10-year plan for trash focuses on zero waste solutions. The communities polluted by incinerators and landfills deserve better.

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