Councilors consider cost-cutting curbside composting

City Councilors Matt O'Malley (JP, West Roxbury) and Ayanna Pressley (at large) say it's time for the city to look at picking up food scraps from Boston residents, to reduce the city's trash-disposal costs and create new fertilizer for local parks and even farms.

The City Council tomorrow considers their request to start the process rolling.

In their request to the full council for a hearing on the issue, O'Malley and Pressley note that Bootstrap Compost of Jamaica Plain has diverted 240,000 pounds of food scraps from landfills since 2011 - and that's with just 550 residential and 21 commercial customers.

Also:

Local colleges have embraced composting programs, with Boston University diverting 1,120 tons of compost from its waste and Harvard University planning to become “zero waste” by 2020 through increased composting among other initiatives

The program would harken back to the days when there was a difference between garbage and trash, and the former was picked up by local pig farmers to feed their animals.

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    Comments

    Garbage Can

    By on

    Since I'm ancient, I remember having what we called a "garbage can" in our backyard in Dorchester. It was actually a cement-lined hole, into which fit a steel receptacle with handle. There was a heavy iron lid on the hole, with a foot pedal for opening it. These were installed by the city, I believe. And the garbage man would come into your backyard once a week, carry the steel receptacle out to his wagon and dump it, then return it to the cement-lined hole.

    There were ALWAYS maggots in the hole, no matter how much your mom or dad or you might have tried to clean the thing. That was always good for grossing out your visiting relatives from the suburbs.

    Old Dorchester Garbage Can

    Suldog
    http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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    you only get maggots if you

    you only get maggots if you put meat in there. Compost rules dictate no animal products (except egg shells) and no bread (which just turns into bricks of mold).

    I think curbside compost pickup is a super idea - I was very jealous when I went to Toronto a few years back & saw their system.

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    Yep!

    By on

    We've still got one of these in our backyard. The little critters have moved on thankfully.

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    We had three kinds of trash

    By on

    We had three kinds of trash growing up in suburban NY in the 60s: food waste (in the hole in the ground with the maggots), metal, and everything else. Three different trucks came for the three different kinds of trash but I don't think they were all weekly. Plus all glass bottles were deposit (and soda and beer was mostly sold in glass) so we saved those to return on our own. Our milk was delivered by a milkman so those glass bottles didn't go in the trash either.

    Plastic containers and bags were relatively rare - things like cottage cheese and yogurt came in waxed cartons, meats and cheese were cut to order and wrapped in butcher wrap. Our family of six probably generated about the same volume of garbage that I do now all by myself. I still feel weird throwing some big plastic thing, like from a salad bar, in the trash.

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    "Food Waste" versus "Compost"

    I lived in one community where all food waste went into a separate bin, because the local hog farmer bought it for slop. This included the leftovers at school - we would scrape them into a bucket and the farmer would come get the buckets each day.

    I suspect there was an industrial or agricultural purchaser of food waste in the area at one time.

    Compost is a bit different - you want stuff that breaks down easily, e.g. no fats or meats.

    Although maggots are kind of cool. They can also be life saving - they are very good at preventing gangrene by eating dead but not rotted skin.

    You can compost any food

    By on

    You can compost any food scraps, including fats, meats, and bones, but it just depends on what your composting facilities can handle. Fats and meats take longer to breakdown. You also need a good balance of carbon rich stuff like leaves. If you have a high volume of food scraps coming in, and you have limited space, then you want your breakdown and turnover to happen relatively quickly. That's why, for most urban based compost programs, like Bootstrap, you can't include the stuff that takes longer to breakdown. If the facilities have the time and space, they can do it all. Ipswich has an optional curbside composting program that's super cheap to buy into, and comes with finished nutrient rich compost at the end. The town facilities, for now, can handle all food scraps. I barely have anything to put out in the trash can these days, and it's awesome.

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    Right. I would imagine that

    Right. I would imagine that a municipal program would have the capabilities to break down meat and animal food scraps. The backyard program I participate in now has really cut down on the amount of trash I put on the curb (also because we can recycle so much these days) and I like it.

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    And...

    By on

    That backyard program is called…?

    I remember that

    By on

    I grew up in Milton and we had those too. There was the back yard garbage (all food scraps), the front street garbage (tins, cans), and the barrel behind the garage where the paper was burned. We also piled the fall leaves on the street in front of the house on the verge and after we jumped in them my father burned them. The smell of burning leaves was the smell of fall.

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    Hope this gets some traction.

    By on

    JP had this service last summer, and it was great! It wasn't curbside, but you could bring your compost to the Egleston Farmer's Market (I think Allston and Mattapan also had pickup sites) for free every week--the service was called Greenovate, and I got the impression that it was municipally funded. It was eye-opening for my wife and I, because it cut our trash output by almost half, and it's nice to know that our food waste was going toward something useful.

    Hope this gets some traction.

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    Not yet at Egleston

    By on

    I believe that at least over the winter the market's website had a note saying that composting material was accepted for the time being. Checked the website but could not see anything on it. But then the market is closed until June anyway.

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    Yes. We actually switched to

    Yes. We actually switched to a very small kitchen trash can because of the program. Between what we can recycle and what we can compost, what we actually need to throw away as "trash" has been significantly reduced.

    Let's not forget

    By on

    They should include composting of dog shit. Now that the snow is melting, you can see the need to get rid of tons of this stuff.

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    cc03122014.sgstn StenoGraph StenoNote Public Meet City Council

    By on

    March 12, 2014 Public Meeting Boston City Council
    cc03122014.txt text lines only
    interpolated from cc03122014.sgstn StenoGraph StenoNote

    {^}troke {^}troke today is Wednesday March [12] {,} [2] thousand
    [4] [paragraph] Baker Ciommo familiar Jackson
    [STPH-FRPLT] all present {:} LaMattina present Councilor McCarthy
    here - Councilor Linehan here [linebreak] Councilor Murphy
    - here [linebreak] Councilor O'Malley - present [linebreak]
    Councilor [President|Pressley] - presents [linebreak] Councilor
    Wu - present [linebreak] Councilor Yancy -
    here [linebreak] Councilor Zakim [STKPHR-FRPLTS] clerk clerk
    Mr. President Mr. President we've a quorum [paragraph] I have been
    informed by the clerk that a quorum is present . I would ask
    at this time for all Councilors and guests to please rise
    . I invite Councilor McCarthy to the podium to
    introduce today's [KHRERPBLG] [KHRERPBLG] . After {in^} vocation
    is [TKHREUFRDZ] I would ask all members and guests to remain
    stand {^ing} and to recite the pledge of allege ledge
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    {,} you're introduction . [paragraph] McCarthy
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    {a^} [SAOEUPBDZ] to the committee on Ways and Means . [linebreak]
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    savings prose [POEPB] {#Return} I commend the maker and thank
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    [STKPWHRAFRPBLGTS] Linehan thank you Councilor [President|Pressley]
    . [paragraph] Flaherty . Please at my
    name [STPHAO] [linebreak] [EUFRPLTS] [EUFRPBLGTS] shoo [SHRAOEUFRPBLGTS]
    {^ments} Flaherty [WHAOEUPL] [WHAOEUPL] [EUFRPLTS] [STHAOEUFRPLGTS]
    [linebreak] [STKAO*FS] dodge dock [0] [4] [-78] [2-6789] Councilor
    Baker [OFRDZ] the following resolution to turn offer none
    [SEPBGS] city [HRAOEUDZ] in sport of ert hour [20] [14] {:}
    thank {,}you Mr. President Mr. President . This here is Alesse
    resolution that was always done by Councilor Connolly {,} and
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    . But ert hour is on March [2-9] it thousand [14] between [-8]
    [30] and [-9] [0] [30] and none essential lights in the [STEUT]
    and hover else would like to join with us in dog that .
    {^us} again {,} shows of sport {&a} be I would like to
    ask for {a^} [S-SZ] suspension and package [paragraph] Councilor
    make bake you [PHAOFS] suss suspension and adoption of dock [KET]
    [0] [4] [-8] [2-6789] all those in favor say Aye . All opposed
    nay . The Ayes have tan docket [0] [4] [2-8] [2-8] is adopt
    Ted . [paragraph] madam clerk . I was remiss
    in assigning docket [0] [-8] [4] [1] assign [0] [4-8] [1] [TOLT]
    committee own sit [STEUT] neighbor neighbor certificate certificate
    and {a^} [linebreak] {im^} informed [PWAOEULT] clerk that there are
    know late filed matters at this time . Any one wishing
    to {re^} [PHAOF] marry from the green sheets may do so at this time
    . [paragraph] know take {^*ers} on the green sheets
    [STKPWHR-FPLTS] Baker bake id aid like to take
    {&u} make {a^} statement if possible . There's one late filed
    marry which in absence of the objection will be added to the
    consent {a^} Jen [TKAFPLT] seeing and hearing no objection {,}
    the matters are added . - the chair [PHAOFS] adoption
    of the Connolly {a^} Jen [TKAFPLT] all those in favor say Aye
    . All those opposed nay . The Ayes have it {^ant} Connolly
    agenda and adopt Ted . [STKPWHRAFRPBLGTS] Councilor Baker
    . Baker . Id a like to ask [PEUR] mission
    to make {a^} [125EU789] {,} Mr. President Mr. President . Sorry
    for [S-BG] show chat {^ity} {^ed to} {,} too . I'd like to
    invite people to -- its eight {a^} panel discussion at wheel
    lock college [3] [35] on Thursday ar particular particular [20]
    the battling the section industry . In some of our neighbors
    hides might be in tick and you know who has it . We've prostitution
    that happens on the street . One of the people {^s that} going
    to be here is from Stockholm to talk about the nor dick model
    changes the way we look at the street level prostitution
    and there's [THAUBG] they've total [THREU] eradicate Ted it in
    stock hole being so I wants to make sure people know [3]
    [30] to five wheel lock college at the brook line campus
    . If [PAOERPL] are interested in going . Maid be interested in
    something like this . It'll be hopeful {^ly} {a^} [HELT] think
    discussion and come ut with some ideas to help the [STREUBGTS]
    suffering threw this because it's not {^us} the people thar object
    street its [AETS] much deep [PEFR] than that and I think its
    a something we should all be talking about and not be afraid
    to talk about and thank you . [paragraph] thank ig
    Councilor Baker for that important announce . .
    At this time I'd like to take {a^} opportunity to wish all my
    [KHRAOEPGS] happen happen saint Papa pat day and evaluation
    day in sit [STKEU] of Boston this week [EPBLDZ] and on Monday
    . [UFRL] {^ly} ill be not be here . Tat . Ill be
    representing all you've {^s}{a^} the [President|Pressley] in the
    city {^ive} limb limb where the mayor has invite Ted
    me to [PARB] 'tis pate it in all of those fess [TEUFTS] [-FPLTS]
    also ill be celebrating Han Han at [SKWR-FPLT] [SKWR-FPLT] foal
    [HREUS] and you're all welcome top come and participate in that
    . Saint Pat and {e^} {e^} ar very key Ann important
    dates here in the [STEUFT] Boston and once in which we celebrate
    and recognize importantly and do {a^} really good [SKROB]
    of it . I'd like to take the time . I [HREUS]
    like you to [TPHOEU] ill be dog {a^} on air life from limerick
    statement back to the [PWREBG] [TPAS] . Senator Linehan Dorchester
    for for has been curt [TUS] in allowing me to sends back
    {a^} message to all of you at the [PWREBG] [TPAS] . Have {a^}
    great weekends and at this time I'd like to ask all guests
    and members to please rise {^s}{a^} the them{.} member policemen
    {^ry} of following individual . Councilor Baker {,} Elaine
    [KR-FPLT] black man I have {er^} Ra . Pete terse and {^s}{a^}
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    . Councilor Flaherty {^'s} uncle . Jen [PH-FPLT] pick
    card and [SKWREUPBS] [1E7BD] [SKWR-FPLT] [TPRAR] [TPRAR] seen
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    [HRORPBS] will{.} Johnson . {a^} [SKWROELD] star mother and
    U.S. nave I have vet . Paul bag {^ly} an France
    an 'tis [TPRAEUPBG] I can did I lease {^s} . Councilor O'Malley
    . {^ural} if [H-FPLT] young . Moment of [SAOEUL] lens
    {,} please . The chair [PHAOFS] when the Councilor adjourns
    {^ed to} it does so in memory of aforementioned individuals and
    scheduled to meet again on Wednesday March [2-6] the
    [20] [14] at [123] o'clock noon . All those in favor of
    add [SKWRAOURPB] . Say a . {e^} posed nay .
    Ayes have it [TAPBT] Councilor is adjourned [-FPLTS] . {^s} over
    over {:} {:} over over {:} {:} [12] [35]
    S-FPLT STPH-FPLT STPH-FPLT
    {.}is {:} {:}