Letter to the Editor

Reader makes case for composting

Dear Editor,

In 2005, I moved from the North End in Boston to San Francisco. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that San Francisco participated in citywide curbside composting as part of the city’s waste management program. I started composting as much of my food waste and take-out containers as I could. I placed all of this waste in my green bin and wheeled it out the night before trash pick up day, along with my recycling and trash bins.

In the spring of 2019, I was ready and excited to move back to Boston and ended up in Beacon Hill. I love living here, with one exception. When I moved back, I found out that Boston still hadn’t started a curbside composting program. I felt guilty throwing my food scraps into the trash and looked into alternative means to compost. I learned that the city started a composting pilot program called Project Oscar (https://www.boston.gov/environment-and-energy/project-oscar). Project Oscar allows you to bring your scraps to city managed composting bins. However, the closest one to Beacon Hill is at City Hall Plaza. It isn’t always easy to tote your waste all the way to this bin.

I decided to see if I could find a composting alternative so I wouldn’t have to walk my scraps over to City Hall Plaza. Luckily, there are a few local businesses that provide curbside composting in Boston. I’ve tried two of them, Bootstrap Compost (https://bootstrapcompost.com/) and Black Earth Compost (https://blackearthcompost.com/). They both have similar models. Bootstrap provides a four-gallon plastic bucket to collect your food waste. They pick up this bucket every week or every other week depending on what plan you choose and give you a clean empty bucket in return. Black Earth requires you to buy a low-cost four-gallon bucket or a 13-gallon wheelie-bin from them. Blackearth picks up weekly and only requires that you line your bucket or bin with a compostable bag. The four-gallon bucket from Bootstrap fit under my kitchen sink, and the wheelie bin from Blackearth is small enough that I leave it out in my hallway.

There are many benefits to curbside composting. It diverts food scraps from entering landfills and it turns your organic waste into a great fertilizer for plants–you can even request some to be returned to you from Bootstrap and Black Earth. Another benefit that doesn’t come as quickly to mind is, that it would reduce the number of rats that we have in the neighborhood. I have noticed on trash collection days lots of avocado peels, lemon rinds and other food waste on the sidewalk on my block. I am certain it is because rats get into my neighbors’ trash bags and eat the food that’s in there. Because the compost bins are made out of hard plastic, even if they are put out the night before, it makes it all but impossible for a rat to chew through them. If enough people start composting, there will be a lot less food for the rats to eat in the garbage bags that are out on our sidewalks.

Composting really is beneficial. If not for the environment, then for the decrease in rats in our beautiful neighborhood. Please consider it. Also consider writing into the city to encourage Boston to start a citywide curbside composting program. I did! Christine Kromer

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