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Ban on disposal of mattresses, clothing, and shoes starts today in Mass. Here’s what to know.

Students carried mattresses down Commonwealth Avenue to an Allston apartment.Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe/file

Starting Tuesday, Massachusetts residents will no longer be able to throw out mattresses, textiles, or shoes, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

As part of a statewide waste reduction plan, residents are required to recycle or donate such items rather than dispose of them, the department said. That includes clothing, shoes, bedding, towels, curtains, and fabric. Disposal of mattresses is also banned, including full-foam, latex, and “mattresses in a box.”

The Department of Environmental Protection issued a 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan in October 2021, aiming to reduce disposal statewide by 30 percent over the next decade.


The plan also lowers the threshold on the disposal of commercial food and organic waste to a half-ton of waste weekly per facility. Restaurants are instead required to process food waste by composting, among other methods, according to the state.

Over 230,000 tons of textiles are thrown away each year by residents and businesses in Massachusetts, and about 85 percent of those textiles could be donated, reused, or recycled instead, the Department of Environmental Protection said.

Textiles that cannot be reused as originally intended — including clothes that are stained or torn — can be used as insulation, carpet padding, soundproofing material, and industrial wiping cloths, it said.

Excluded from the disposal ban are items that are “contaminated with mold, bodily fluids, insects, oil, or hazardous substances,” according to the new regulations.

The department will not “enforce upon or fine” individual residents who violate the ban, but will enforce it with businesses, institutions, municipalities, and waste haulers, according to an e-mail from Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Edmund Coletta.

If state inspectors find many banned items at landfills or incinerator facilities, the Department of Environmental Protection will work to determine where the items came from, he said.


“If we find that there is a repeat violator ... we will consider fines for subsequent violations,” Coletta said.

Other items already banned from disposal include asphalt, bricks, concrete, glass and metal containers, leaves and yard waste, and lead acid batteries.

Bailey Allen can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @baileyaallen.