City Launches Resident Composting Initiative

The first pilot composting program in Boston will last three months.

Food scraps image via shutterstock

Food scraps image via shutterstock

The city’s first public composting program is debuting at select farmers’ markets this week. Mayor Tom Menino announced Thursday that Boston residents can drop off compostable food scraps for free at three city farmers’ markets: Harvard-Allston, Egleston Square, and Bowdoin-Geneva.

The pilot program is Boston’s first public composting program. There are composting businesses, like Bootstrap Compost, which has residential and commercial clients, and in the last two years has collected more than 240,000 pounds of food scraps and sent it to fertilize fields, rather than pollute landfills. Our neighbors in Cambridge already have a food scrap drop-off program, but there hasn’t been a public program available to Boston-area residents, until now.

“Residents have made it clear that they support a healthier, cleaner Boston that supports local agriculture, healthy food and waste reduction,” Mayor Menino says in a press release. “This pilot will show residents how separating food scraps from trash is better for the environment and our bottom-line.”

The program will span three months, and waste hauler Renewable Waste Solutions will transport the food scraps (pro bono, by the way) to Rocky Hill Farm in Saugus. The collected scraps will end up being fertile soil for use in commercial and personal farming and gardening projects.

Only certain foods can be composted. Fruits and vegetables, non-greasy food scraps  (rice, pasta, bread, cereal, etc.), coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg shells, nutshells and pits, cut and dried flowers, and house plants and potted soil. Things you should leave at home include meat, poultry, fish, dairy, greasy food scraps, and fat or oils.

Time and location of drop-off sites for residential collection of food scraps:

Harvard-Allston—168 Western Ave., Allston; Fridays between 3 p.m. and 7 pm. from August 9 to October 25

Egleston Square—45 Brookside Ave., Jamaica Plain; Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from August 10 to October 26

Bowdoin-Geneva—230 Bowdoin St., Dorchester; Thursdays between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. from August 15 to October 31

“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 says in a press release. “I would also like to thank our city’s farmers’ markets, Renewable Waste Solutions and Rocky Hill Farm for helping us evaluate how residential composting can be part of the solution.”