Letter to the Editor

Composting Will Help the Rat Problem

To the Editor,

Mr Whitney makes a good case for reducing the overwhelming rat population that inhabit many of Boston’s neighborhoods by not allowing trash in plastic bags to be put out curbside the night before scheduled trash pick up. He rightfully identifies this as the major contributor to the proliferation of rats. But he leaves out one significant tool that will contribute to reducing Boston’s rat infestation and that is composting. Last year the city launched a free composting program for the first 10,000 households to sign up. The reception to the program has been overwhelmingly positive with the next 10,000 sign ups almost complete.

Most of us know that composting has a very positive impact on the environment.  But what we don’t think about is how composting keeps food waste away from the rat population. The composting bins supplied by the city are made of strong plastic with a tight lid so the bin can be put out the night before without any concern that the rats are going to get to the food waste. We have been using a 3rd party composting company until we can get on the city’s program. What we have found is both the volume and weight of our trash has dropped to the point where some weeks we can even skip a trash pick up. It is so easy to do and makes a huge difference.

And there is good news about the city’s next round of the composting program – they will be offering smaller 5-gal buckets for those of us who have no room for the current 12 gal bin!

Does this mean that we can now put out our trash the night before if we compost? Probably not. Many food containers will still have remnants of food waste. The city should weigh in on this before the new contract is completed.

The combination of same day trash placement and composting will lead to a much reduced rat population.

Stephen Morgan

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