Mayor Menino Announces Launch of Residential Compost Pilot
City’s first public composting program debuts at select farmers’ markets
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For Immediate Release
August 08, 2013
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced the debut of a pilot program that will allow Boston residents to drop off compostable food scraps for free at three city farmers’ markets: Harvard-Allston, Egleston Square and Bowdoin-Geneva. The pilot program is Boston’s first public composting program. It was inspired by feedback during community presentations around the City’s urban agricultural zoning amendment Article 89, and contributes to the Mayor’s Greenovate Boston initiative--which seeks to educate the public on climate actions like recycling and waste management. The program kicks off Friday, August 9 at the Harvard-Allston market.

“Residents have made it clear that they support a healthier, cleaner Boston that supports local agriculture, healthy food and waste reduction,” Mayor Menino said. “This pilot will show residents how separating food scraps from trash is better for the environment and our bottom-line.”

Time and location of drop-off sites for residential collection of food scraps:

  • Harvard-Allston—168 Western Ave., Allston; Fridays between 3 p.m. and 7 pm. from August 9 to October 25
  • Egleston Square—45 Brookside Ave., Jamaica Plain; Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from August 10 to October 26
  • Bowdoin-Geneva—230 Bowdoin St., Dorchester; Thursdays between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. from August 15 to October 31

Operated out of the Mayor’s Office of Environment and Energy and the Office of Food Initiatives, and supported by the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, the compost pilot program is similar to drop-off programs in New York City and Cambridge, which have helped set the stage for larger scale composting opportunities. For the three-month duration of this program, full-service waste hauler Renewable Waste Solutions will donate supplies and hauling services for transport to Rocky Hill Farm in Saugus, Massachusetts, where the collected scraps will be transformed into fertile soil for use in commercial and personal farming and gardening projects.

“This pilot will set the stage for a larger conversation about innovative ways to continue increasing recycling in Boston, which is imperative to the vitality of our city,” Chief of Environment and Energy Brian Swett said. “I would also like to thank our city’s farmers’ markets, Renewable Waste Solutions and Rocky Hill Farm for helping us evaluate how residential composting can be part of the solution.”

During the pilot markets’ hours, Boston residents may deposit the following waste at the pilot sites:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Non-greasy food scraps (e.g., rice, pasta, bread and cereal)
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Egg shells, nutshells and pits
  • Cut and dried flowers
  • House plants and potted soil

Items that may not be deposited include:

  • Meat, chicken, fish or dairy
  • Greasy food scraps, fat or oil
  • Animal waste or litter
  • Bedding and clothes
  • Coal or charcoal
  • Infested plants or soil

Residents are also encouraged to use reusable, sealable plastic containers or paper bags to store their acceptable food scraps in their refrigerators at home or to purchase discount recycling bins from Boston Building Resources at (617) 442-2262.  Plastic bins and containers may not be deposited at the respective drop-off locations, but brown paper bags are acceptable.

Composting is one of the several systems of recycling available to City of Boston residents.  In 2009, the City unveiled its curbside, single-stream recycling program, which helped increase Boston’s recycling rate by 50%.  More information about the City’s residential recycling programs can be found on the Department of Public Works’ website at

Residents can follow updates on the pilot via Twitter using #CompostBos or visit Greenovate Boston’s website,, for more information.


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