Reader Poll: Would You Participate in Curbside Composting in the North End?

Boston City Council will hold a hearing later this month to discuss the feasibility of a curbside composting program in Boston. The compost could be used for landscaping in City parks and gardens, or sold to local farmers to create a full circle of food for Boston residents.

Cambridge launched a pilot program in 2014 and collected 170,000 pounds of food scraps from more than 600 households last year. Other U.S. cities, such as San Francisco and Portland, have launched curbside composting programs and seen decreases in city trash production.

Would you participate in curbside composting in the North End / Waterfront neighborhood? Vote in our poll and add your comments in the section below.

19 Replies to “Reader Poll: Would You Participate in Curbside Composting in the North End?

  1. I would think rats and more opportunities for disgusting trash on our streets. I’ll use my garbage disposal.

    1. I agree that given the issues with rats in the neighborhood already, curbside composting is not a good idea.

    1. Sometimes it looks like some people are well on there way to curb side garbage. Now they want to encourage it?

  2. Composting is already available at the Nazarro Center. We should be moving away from curbside disposal in the North End–whether for trash, recycling, or compost–to reduce the amount of debris that inevitably ends up all over our streets and sidewalks.

    1. As someone who’s lived here for 7 years I had no idea composting of any kind was available. If we aren’t going to move to curbside compost, then the compost locations really need to be better promoted.

      Also, before I moved back to Boston I lived in Rome for 2 years. They have a far better recycling and compost program than we do here. I think it would be worth the time to research the logistics of their program.

      Yes, there can sometimes be a lot of trash in the streets of Rome but that’s due to other causes such as massive amounts of tourist littering and especially because of worker strikes which are prevelant in Italy.

      Lastly, I think it’s important to note I disagree with Jared about curbside trash but I don’t think this is the place to debate that topic.

    2. You can learn more about composting in Boston (only select neighborhoods) here:

      I picked up the $10 Kitchen Pail by Roxbury Crossing and it has worked great. In the last couple months that I’ve used it, I’ve never had it emanate any bad smells.

      As for curbside vs. not, one of the cleanest cities I ever visited was in Vigo, Spain. In the dense parts of the city (like the North End!) there are places to deposit recycling and trash alongside sidewalks (bins open to underground storage vaults). That’s where residential trash/recycling goes. It’s the same story in Bayonne and Bordeaux, France…. and more.

  3. MichaelD: This is a serious discussion. All have good points, being the inevitably of compost attracting critters.

  4. Composting is great to minimize waste, but let’s further sopport the current way – centralized location – rather than inviting food waste onto the street. Trash days are already awful.

  5. Please fix the rat problem. Then we can consider composting – which is a great idea but rats are running rampant over parts of the North End.

  6. To everyone whose immediate reaction is that curbside composting will cause rat activity to increase…this is a silly and uninformed knee-jerk reaction. Where do you think the potentially composted food scraps go now? They go into garbage bags that get placed curbside for garbage pick-up. There’s no difference. No rats have ever broken into my garbage bags and eaten my waste food scraps, and I’ve lived here for 20 years.

    Presumably, a curbside composting program would be designed with rats in mind and specific rat-resistant bags/receptacles would be required to ensure that this is not an issue. With regards to rats, putting compost in it’s own bag/receptacle for curbside pick-up is no different than putting in our garbage bags as we do now. The FIRST thing to do is find out the details of the proposed program, and THEN form an informed opinion.

    I have been bringing all of my compost to the Nazzaro Center bins since they opened a few years ago. It’s a great program that everyone should participate in. Curbside composting would hopefully encourage more people to compost, since they won’t have to walk a block or 2 to Nazzaro.

    1. Serious question- why would I compost instead of using my disposal to grind up and dispose of food?

    2. ne,neighbor, people wont follow the trash policies in place now or pick up after their dogs.What would leave you to believe that people are going to participate in curbside composting? This is Boston where people will kill for a parking spot not San Francisco

    3. I never put food scaps out in the trash, just the occasional chicken bones. Everything elses goes right down the garbage disposal.
      Rat resistent bags??? Ha! We can’t get residents to stop putting their trash out in flimsy kitchen bags!
      If composting is that important to folks, continue using the central location outside the Nazzaro, and recycle!

    4. Ever seen a sanitation worker replace the bags in the park. He kicks it around a few times to drive the rats out. What is a rat resisrent bag? We could use them now.

      I like the idea of people taking their compost to the Nazarro center. If people can’t be motivated enough to walk a few blocks, what makes you think they will separate and store their food waste? We need to resolve the issues that we have now with curbside collection. In addition, we are at 2 collections a week because of budgets. So the idea here makes collection that much more expensive.

  7. I can’t get the City to pick up my recycling, I call at least once a week and it sits out there until the next day. So I can’t image my compost to be picked up in a timely manner.

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