City officials: Curbside composting would be stinkin’ good for Boston

Compostable kitchen waste, kept in separate container for ease of recycling or putting on compost. (Photo by Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Compostable kitchen waste, kept in separate container for ease of recycling or putting on compost. (Photo by Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Boston’s kitchen scraps could soon be hitting the curb.

City Councilors Felix Arroyo and Matthew O’Malley are hoping to follow in the green footsteps of roughly 90 U.S. cities and roll out a city-run curbside composting program in Boston.

“The response so far has been fantastic. Mayor Menino has done some innovative things to help lessen our environmental impact and raising awareness around recycling. Moving to compost would be the next logical step,” O’Malley said.

Since launching in 2011, Charlestown-based Bootstrap Compost has been Boston’s only year-round kitchen scrap pickup service. Customers fill a bucket with coffee grounds, bones, tea bags, veggies – no dairy or meat – then Bootstrap picks it up, and replaces it with a fresh bucket.

Bootstrap Compost picks up food waste from 400 residential and 21 commercial customers and has diverted over 170,000 pounds of scraps in the past 2 years. Customers get back a portion of their scraps in the form of usable compost, or have it donated to school and community gardens. It’s unclear whether residents would have access to a compost bank if Boston were to launch a city-run program – city departments would likely use the compost for public projects.

Founder Andy Brooks said Bootstrap is firmly behind the councilors’ push for a city-run composting program.

“I absolutely see this becoming a ubiquitous part of modern urban life; there’s no question. As to when it will happen, that’s hard to say. I think it’s going to be a mater of trial and error,” Brooks said.

Arroyo hopes to launch a pilot program “as soon as possible,” but not before getting public input at a yet-to-be scheduled hearing.

“No one can argue that doing something positive for the environment isn’t a good thing. It’s just a win, win, win.”

Check out a video by Bootstrap Compost, below:



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