Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and the Public Works Department (PWD) announced the expansion of the city’s pilot food waste curbside collection program, increasing from its current capacity servicing 10,000 households to 30,000. Since launching in August 2022, the program has collected over 800 tons of curbside food waste at no cost to residents. Initially, the 3-year pilot was going to expand in 10,000 household increments, with full roll out to 30,000 households in 2024. However, due to high interest from residents, Boston PWD decided to accelerate the expansion this year. Any Boston resident who lives in a residential building with six units or less is eligible to enroll in the program. All food waste, as well as soiled paper and certified compostable liner bags and foodservice ware can be placed in the curbside bin. The city also has 15 ‘Project Oscar’ drop-off sites around the city that accept vegetative food scraps and soiled paper.
“The strong interest in our pilot program gave us a clear sign that residents are eager to participate in curbside food waste collection if the resources are available,” said Mayor Wu. “This expansion will make it easier for more residents to help our city fight the effects of climate change.” Added City Council President Ed Flynn: “I have been working closely with my Council colleagues on the issue of pest control, and I believe this program is part of the solution for cleaner streets as we separate food sources from our trash.”
In June, compost bin “starter kits” will be delivered to residents whose curbside pick-up service begins in July. Another batch of curbside bins will be delivered in July with service beginning in August. The “starter kits” include an onboarding manual, a roll of liners, kitchen bin, collection bin, and a magnet outlining what food scraps are and are not accepted in the program. Accepted materials include common household food scraps such as coffee grounds, fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood, and eggs. The city will continue to add households each month until its capacity of 30,000 is reached. Residents who were previously placed on the waiting list for pick-up service will be enrolled first in the program. Residents who have not previously signed up can enroll. Food waste curbside pick-up will continue to align with residents’ scheduled trash and recycling collection days.
The food waste is collected curbside through a partnership between Garbage to Garden and Save That Stuff and taken to Waste Management’s CORe Facility in Charlestown where it is processed into a slurry that is codigested at the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District’s treatment plant in North Andover (MA). Save That Stuff is planning construction of a composting site that also will have capacity to process Boston’s residential food waste. A small portion is being taken to an existing facility. Black Earth Compost based in Manchester (MA) services the Project Oscar drop-off sites.