The Baker Administration has released a plan for disposing of the Commonwealth's trash over the next decade. The plan, two years in the making, is already being panned by some environmentalists who believe it does not go far enough in solving the problem.

Let's be clear about one thing: whether Baker's plan is adopted or something even more stringent comes along, New Bedford will introduce a "pay-as-you-throw" system before long.

The State House News Service reports that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hopes to cut "down waste disposal in Massachusetts 30 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050." SHNS says Lt. Governor Karyn Polito believes "too much trash in Massachusetts still contains materials that can be recycled and reused."

In other words, we are throwing too much good garbage in the garbage.

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Mayor Jon Mitchell told me several years ago that "pay as you throw" will be necessary at some point to reduce the amount of trash disposed of in New Bedford. The state has already imposed limits, and those limits will continue to shrink as time goes by. Mitchell believes that one way to increase recycling while reducing the amount of trash disposed of by city residents is to make them pay for what gets tossed.

Most communities in Massachusetts have already gone to a "pay as you throw" system, and it won't be long before New Bedford follows suit.

Baker's plan includes a ban on disposing of textiles and mattresses beginning in November 2022. Some critics want more, such as a ban on disposing of glass and paper and a heavier reliance on composting rather than incinerating trash and food waste.

New Bedford, like most Massachusetts communities, is facing a crisis. Though the Crapo Hill landfill still has time, its life expectancy gets shorter by the day. Oh, and anyone who believes the Commonwealth will not approve the Parallel Products recycling and disposal proposal for the New Bedford Business Park is dreaming. It will happen.

The only question now is what color trash bags should New Bedford use, and should the city logo or a big white whale appear on each bag?

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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