Boston is launching a pilot, drop-off program to collect organic waste from households and turn it into compost.
The items being accepted for free at three farmers markets include mostly food scraps, such as fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg shells, nut shells, pits and non-greasy items like rice, pasta, bread and cereal. However, house plants and potted soil will be taken, too.
The limited-time program – it ends in late October – represents Boston’s first foray into public composting and will allow city officials to evaluate how residential composting can be part of waste reduction goals.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino said the program was inspired by feedback during community presentations about the city’s urban agricultural zoning amendment and it contributes to his Greenovate Boston initiative to educate the public on climate actions.
“Residents have made it clear that they support a healthier, cleaner Boston that supports local agriculture, healthy food and waste reduction,” Menino said in a statement. “This pilot will show residents how separating food scraps from trash is better for the environment and our bottom-line.”
For the three-month duration of the program, Renewable Waste Solutions will donate supplies and hauling services. The compostable materials will be transported to Rocky Hill Farm in Saugus, Mass., and transformed into fertile soil for use in commercial and personal farming and gardening projects.
“This pilot will set the stage for a larger conversation about innovative ways to continue increasing recycling in Boston, which is imperative to the vitality of our city,” Chief of Environment and Energy Brian Swett said in a statement.
While it isn’t curbside compost collection for everyone, I think this is a huge victory for the city of Boston, and I hope there’s some highly publicized results that other cities can learn from.
Philadelphia is one of them. I feel like we’re on the brink of having some centralized food scrap collection trials, but I’m not sure what needs to happen next to make that happen. The only problem I see is that it relies on public interest instead of what’s best for the public.
Communication and publicity are two huge factors here, and I hope Boston has plenty of advocates that can convey the message that composting is not only cool but extremely necessary right now. I can see it now…the composting trial is over, and half the city didn’t know about it.
For all the haters out there complaining that commercial composting facilities turn into “stump dumps”, or try to make an issue out of where all the compost will go, quit denying the human nutrient cycle that’s been here as long as we have. We eat, we crap it out, we compost it, we grow food with it.