The Buzz: A Monthly Column on Being Well from the Beacon Hill Garden Club. How to Compost in Boston

The winter greens in your window box have faded to tan. Now what?

Head over to Charles St. Supply and load up on large paper bags. Stuff organic material (no plastic or other non-biodegradable items) into the bag. The city will start picking up these bags from the curb in April. (See for exact dates.) You can add dead house plants to the bag as well as leaves, sticks and other yard waste, should you actually have an outdoor courtyard. The contents of your bag will be delivered to the city’s compost pile where it will be chopped up and left to ripen into nutritious additives to the city’s gardens.

If you have bigger branches, tie them together or put them in a barrel labeled yard waste, and the guys will take them away too.

You can also compost food waste, which is especially convenient if you don’t have a garbage disposer. Again, the city has a website that provides instructions and offers subsidized containers. Check out

If do-it-yourself composting is too much work, you can turn the work over to the city directly. The closest drop-off place is on the south side of Boston City Hall near the Bill Russell statue. Or take it to the Nazarro Center parking lot in the North End on North Bennet Street. We know one family who freezes their food waste and bikes it over weekly to a city depository. The city cannot take such items as meat, fish, bones, or dairy products. But it will take fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds and paper towels. The full list is on the web site under Project Oscar—you know, the grouch who lives in a trash can.

Finally, if you want door-to-door service, there is Bootstrap Compost, the first company to offer a compost service to residents as opposed to commercial establishments. For $10 a week they provide you with a five-gallon bucket into which goes your food scraps and other organic material. This company also takes meat and dairy items. They pick up your scraps weekly and deliver a brand new bucket to you. Every four months, they deliver five pounds of nutritious compost for you to use in gardening or nourishing the tree in front of your house. Garden club members who have used the service recommend it enthusiastically. See

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