Boston's Composting Program Starts Next Week

The city says in Boston, one-third of what's tossed in traditional garbage cans is food waste - 67,000 tons a year

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Trash day in Boston is always a busy day. But now, among all the trash, the city sees opportunity.

"We the city of Boston are chasing a very ambitious goal to reduce waste by 80 percent by 2035 and to do that we have to very seriously think about food waste," said Theresa Savarese, zero waste director for the city.

Starting next week, Boston is launching a city-wide compost program. Residents will put food scraps in bright green containers. Residents can sign up at the city's compost website.

Two compost firms, Boston-based Save That Stuff and Garbage to Garden out of Portland, Maine, will pick up compost on neighborhood's regular trash days.

The city says in Boston, one-third of what's tossed in traditional garbage cans is food waste. That's 67,000 tons a year, according to the city.

"Residents are recognizing both the benefit to themselves to sort of be conscious of what they are wasting as well as you know improvements for the community and the environment," Annika Schmidt of Garbage to Garden said. 

According to officials, compost will be taken from Boston to a compost farm in West Bridgewater, and a facility in Charlestown that will turn the compost into clean energy.

Program organizers say they have heard the worries that discarded food will attract animals and rats. They counter that food compost is actually safer.

"Because it is in this closed container and has a latch on it, it is harder for them to get in, you see rats in your neighborhood because when you put trash in those bags they can easily chew through them and that is kind of like a feast for them," Savarese said.

City officials say 10,000 people have already signed up for the program. The current waitlist for green compost bins now sits at 3,000.

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