The City Council of Boston heard a proposal from several city officials last week about the feasibility of providing curbside compost pickup services for its residents. The city is no stranger to new waste disposal services, as it enacted its own single-stream recycling service just six years ago. This service allows residents to divert their plastic, glass, metal, and paper waste from landfills, helping to reduce the overall rate of garbage production within the city. Many residents of greater Boston support opening up additional services in order to help curb the city’s impact on the environment.
The current proposal for the city’s composting program would include giving new composting bins to residents for containing their food waste. The compost materials would be collected every other week, along with the regular trash and recyclables. Once the food waste has been collected, it will be processed for shipping to local farmers and park’s department crews. Farmers can purchase the compost at a discount from the city for use as fertilizer, while the city itself would use some of the waste in local parks.
Both city officials and local residents believe that composting can generate revenue in the long-run. The city’s recycling service already turns a profit, as it sells off the majority of the recyclables to reclamation centers located in the region. City officials believe that a composting service can be just as cost-effective in the long-run, but there are some hurdles to jump before a profit can be made. The city would need to fine-tune its pick up schedules in its service areas before it could start having its fleet of trucks go around picking up bins full of food waste. There are also additional facilities that would need to be built before the program could reach full capacity.
In spite of the challenges, the city’s current proposal has stirred interest among the city’s residents. Even without an official city pickup service, there is one company who already provides composting services for Boston residents known as Bootstrap Compost. The small company is currently the only compost pickup service in the city, providing its services for residents who want to start composting before the city moves in. Its highly possible that any composting service enacted by the city will involve input from Bootstrap, including a contract award for carrying out the job if the city decides to go ahead with its plan.
Regardless of who ends up handling Boston’s food waste, it will be a win-win for the city’s residents and environmentalists. Not only will it keep more food waste out of the city’s dumpsters, but it will also provide a useful commodity for local farms and park services.