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Boston to expand leaf pickup and test out food-scraps collection

Mayor Walsh today announced a series of steps aimed at reducing the amount of stuff now sent to an incinerator or landfill, including three extra weeks of yard-waste pickup between April and December, and pilot programs in which residents will be able to have somebody haul away their food scraps for composting and old clothing for reuse.

The announcement, based in part on work by City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury), is part of a city effort to dramatically cut the amount of stuff that Bostonians dispose of that now simply goes up in smoke. Currently, 25% of Boston's annual 1.2 million tons waste is recycled; the city says it wants to increase that to 80% by 2035 - and to 100% by 2050.

Approximately six percent of Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the City’s discarded materials. By reducing waste, recycling more, and composting, Boston can reduce emissions associated with waste and move one step closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Among the short-term specifics:

In addition to adding three weeks of yard-waste pickup, residents will be able to drive their yard detritus to a city yard on American Legion Highway in Mattapan on at least 20 weekends.

The city will soon issue a formal request for proposals from companies willing to pick up kitchen scraps and food. Residents will have to pay for the service, but the city will chip in part of the cost for the pickups, which could begin this fall.

The city also plans to expand current curbside recycling to include a way for residents to put out old clothes and linens, starting this fall.

City parks will get more recycling bins.

Neighborhoods: 
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Comments

If you live in say Charlestown or Eastie and have to drive your yard detritus to Mattapan?

Convenient for the mayor maybe. Not many other people.

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Voting closed 23

It's an extra option on a weekend when you've just spent hour upon hour pulling up that goddamn black swallow-wort and oriental bittersweet and wild rose (strictly hypothetically, of course) and really don't want to have all those leaf bags sitting around until your recycling day.

If you live in Charlestown, yeah, it's an issue, but worst case, just put the bags out a couple days later. But for those of us who live in the forgotten parts of Boston, like, oh, Roslindale, Hyde Park, West Roxbury and Mattapan, hey, bonus!

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Voting closed 58

I thought that yard waste was only infrequently picked up. Living downtown it's not advertised and you never see the yard waste bags put out for pick up. I believe it mostly ends up in the trash because nobody knows about it (or if a condo has a garden service, they haul it away). Checked the schedule and lo and behold, it's every 2 weeks. Been about a decade since I was the house gardener, so I'll let him deal with that, but we have a drain that needs to be demucked twice a year. I'll see if anyone picks it up if I put it out in one of those yard waste bags.

God Bless Uhub Adam - never know what you'll learn out here - even for a Boston veteran. That's why I subscribe (hint hint to all you freeloaders!)

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Voting closed 19

We get a mailing with the calendar in spring and again in fall.

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The City is piloting community composting at City Hall Plaza and four neighborhoods: Brighton, East Boston, Jamaica Plan, and the North End.

Details here: https://www.boston.gov/departments/environment/project-oscar

I participate in the North End pilot. I bought a kitchen scrap bucket ($10) from Boston Building Resources in Mission Hill, line it with a paper bag, and periodically empty it in the community bins at the Nazzaro Center.

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Voting closed 13

No one in Charlestown has a freakin yard. There might be houses with yards in Eastie but I don't imagine they are all that large. Furthermore where in those areas would they put a yard waste transfer station or composting facility?
The south side of the city is where all the yards are, and where there is space for such a place. Not saying that other neighborhoods don't generate yard waste but drive through Dorchester on yard waste day and count up the bags, it's dozens per house at times.

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Voting closed 17

Where do you live?

Obviously not Charlestown or other downtown areas or you'd know we do actually have yards. Some small, but still they are yards.

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100% of trash recycled? Neat trick. Always nice how these goals are set for long after said politician is gone.

Surprised residents would have to pay for compost pickup. We already have 2 companies in Boston that will do that for a fee - is Boston going to undercut them? (or most likely hire them...)

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Compostable waste makes up 30-some percent of the trash picked up in Boston. You're gonna pay for it one way or another.

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Voting closed 23

At the very least, indirectly through property taxes. So if you pay for someone to pick up your food scraps, you're paying twice for household waste collection. In the end you pay a fee to feel good about yourself for "being part of the solution" and hopefully the vendor who is supposed to compost the food scraps doesn't just haul them off to an incinerator or landfill.

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Voting closed 17

At the very least, indirectly through property taxes. So if you pay for someone to pick up your food scraps, you're paying twice for household waste collection.

I don't know the numbers, but perhaps you do and can demonstrate how your property taxes are allocated for the full expense of your trash haulage.

In the end you pay a fee to feel good about yourself for "being part of the solution"

Nonsense. Many communities use pay-per-throw because it works. Perhaps you'd prefer that?

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Voting closed 9

includes just a bit over $50 million for what the City euphemistically calls "waste reduction" but is actually mostly trash removal. There's a substantial increase (12%) over FY2019 because the cost of recycling and waste removal has gone up. You can do the math on what that amounts to per dwelling.

Yes, some communities have gone to pay-per-throw but Boston isn't one of them. I'd prefer that, actually, because the large building in which I dwell isn't serviced by PWD waste removal anyway; I already pay twice for trash removal.

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Voting closed 7

San Fransisco has a program where it is mandatory
and happily accepted.

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Voting closed 7

As the owner-occupant of a multi-family, I've been looking for a way to help my tenants do food waste recycling. Spoke to both of the companies that do this, neither one had an easy way to do this that wouldn't wind up either costing me too much or was too much trouble for tenants.

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in the city and ultimately decided to buy my own compost bin and do it myself. Wouldn't necessarily work for everyone, but if you have space to store it and the time to tend to it, it's a great option.

I also noticed last week at the Rozzie farmers market that the city is subsidizing rain collectors.

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Voting closed 15

I have space, so I run two composters that are made out of old pickle barrels, mounted on frames so they can be spun. Cheap and easy to build if you are even a little bit handy and can get the bins. I use two so that I can close one down and not keep adding to it while it completes the process.

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I like your creativity :)

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Unfortunately not everyone has the space to compost at home :(

I live in an apartment with no outdoor space and must resort to the public compost drop off spots, which aren't very convenient. Compost pickup would be a huge win

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Voting closed 15

Where around the City of Boston is a Recycling Center for recyclables not recycled at the curbside pickups?... like the Recycling Center for Cambridge https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/Files/publicworksdepartment/recyclin...

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Voting closed 9

For the most part, things not accepted curbside can be taken to the hazardous waste drop offs, which are run several times a year in various locations. https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-works/get-rid-household-hazard...

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Voting closed 11

Does the Mayor really mean "Get back to the level of service like when Menino was Mayor?"

For all the challenges during his tenure, a simple action like leaf collection/yard waste was never an issue for our house under Menino. I am sure Marty is saving money by getting rid of leaf collection, I just have no idea where the savings went... (Why did leaf collection stop in November anyway? You can actually see that the trees have not dropped their leaves by simply looking out the window.)

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Voting closed 22

Mayor Marty seems to think skimping on trash collection saves much money. At least I only assume so, since sidewalk trash cans have consistently become more scarce in Roxbury since he took office. One day it's there, the next it's removed. There used to be 7 on my 1/2 mile route to walk my dog, now there's one. In dense Roxbury. Remember the "chicken on a bench" a few years ago? That was me that filed the complaint. The city installed a trash can as requested... then 2 months later took it away. Now there's litter all around again.

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For two weeks I have noticed that the yard waste, which was in the appropriate bags, has been picked up by the regular trash service and thrown in with the trash. This was in Westie. My father who lives in Roslindale noticed it too and asked the trash men what was happening and was told oh there's no yard waste truck today. These were on the appropriate day for yard waste. What's the point of all the special bags and tracking which days are the alleged pick up for it to end up in the regular trash?? How about we make sure that the yard waste people go out on the days they're supposed to first and then expand.

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Voting closed 23

I've said it here before, in my native SF we've had curbside composting for quite some time. It's easy (just as easy as putting out your trash/recycling) and is used much more efficiently then burying, barging, or burning it.

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Can food waste be considered a type of yard waste, and mixed with yard waste?

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No.

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I mean, can you put a few old bok choy leaves in your yard waste? Yes.

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When I was a kid in the suburbs, our town had a garbage collection that was separate from the trash collection (collectively it was all referred to rubbish collection, garbage being food waste and compostables, and trash being the remainder -this was long before recycling). Many houses had a garbage pit built into the driveway, which had a cast iron cover that consisted of a cap with a foot pedal, so that one could easily lift it to toss their garbage into a pail in the pit, and a larger bevel with another foot pedal to access the garbage pail itself (for emptying or replacement). Heavy enough for a person to be able to access it, but too heavy for the raccoons or other vermin to get at. We had nothing that fancy at our house, which was an old farm, just a metal 55 gallon drum with a lid that clipped on and was buried about 2/3 of the way into the ground, and behind the barn (which was located at the top of our 200+ foot driveway). Despite this, the garbagemen said that they liked coming to our house, because they always saved it for the last. My mother kept a garbage pail behind the kitchen sink for at least twenty years after garbage collection ended, but instead of emptying it into the drum behind the barn, it was dumped into the compost pile next to the garden.

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Voting closed 22

My house still has one of these by the back stairs.

Many houses had a garbage pit built into the driveway, which had a cast iron cover that consisted of a cap with a foot pedal, so that one could easily lift it to toss their garbage into a pail in the pit, and a larger bevel with another foot pedal to access the garbage pail itself (for emptying or replacement).

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I want to compost the food wastes. But charging a fee is to add to the city government money that is already paid. Boston's budget is in good shape. My property taxes increased; chances are quite a few people are paying more property taxes. The money is present. The cost of composting should be born by monies already paid to the city.

Meanwhile the compost results could be sold to city residents. That could offset the cost while providing an additional benefit.

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Voting closed 11

Where online is a) a List of all the places around all Boston Neighborhoods, places that specialize in Redeeming the Deposit on Cans?... and b) a Map of the Listings?

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...compile such a list and a map yourself?

I'm guessing it doesn't exist, and I'm guessing that's because no one needs it. People find a place that's convenient for them and they're done; they don't see a need to compile a list.

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