City to Pilot Curbside Food Composting and Textile Recycling Programs, Extend Residential Yard Waste Collection

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On Wednesday, the city announced a wide-ranging plan with an eventual goal of having Boston be a zero waste city. The new plan includes launching a food scrap curbside composting program, extending residential yard waste options, increasing environmental education and more.

"By implementing Boston's first zero waste plan, we will be a healthier and greener city for future generations to come," said District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley, Chairman of the Council's Environment, Sustainability and Parks Committee. "I am proud to have spearheaded the Council's efforts to institute curbside composting and textile recycling programs in the city of Boston and I look forward to seeing these programs develop even further."

O'Malley added that expanding Boston's composting program will improve Boston's recycling rate, reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, while working toward carbon neutrality.

For several years, O'Malley has proposed piloting a curbside composting program. Soon enough his dream will come true, as the city will issue a request for proposals to pilot a curbside collection of food waste from residents. The plan would be to provide this program starting in the fall for a subscription cost with some of the cost being covered by the city.

Also, the city will soon tackle another O'Malley proposal to recycle textiles. The city will release a request for proposals to identify local partners to educate and encourage Boston residents to recycle clothing and linens, through a free curbside service. That plan would also begin this fall.

The zero waste plan also includes improving access to recycling and encourage better recycling behaviors. Earlier this year, Boston was selected as one of seven U.S. communities to receive a $250,000 grant for a community recycling pilot program from The Coca-Cola Foundation, The grant will bring recycling bins, signage and collection services to city parks to expand recycling in high traffic areas.

Overall, the city's plan makes recommendations by the Zero Waste Boston Advisory Committee, which was created last year, and would to implement 30 short- and long-term strategies that will be introduced over time.

One of those strategies is to extend the current residential yard waste collection service from 17 weeks during the April to December period to 20 weeks. There will also be at least 20 weekend days when residents can drop off yard waste at Boston's composting facility on American Legion Highway for free. Some of the compost from that yard waste will be provided at no cost to Boston's community gardens, and other compost will be available for sale to Boston residents at a reduced price.

For more info about the city's zero waste plan please click here.

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