Scout’s Somerville – July 10, 2017
Written by Eliza Rosenberry
With no citywide composting program to turn to, environmentally minded residents rely on private pickup services instead.
After throwing her pickup into park on Somerville Avenue, Emma Brown practically flies out the door, grabbing a five-gallon plastic bucket from the truck bed on her way. She dashes across the sidewalk and into a building lobby, swapping her empty bucket for one that seems quite a bit heavier, and returns, swinging the full one into the bed. After climbing back into the driver’s seat and crossing a name off a list of more than three dozen, Brown is off to the next stop—all in about 30 seconds.
Brown and her colleagues at Bootstrap Compost provide this curbside pickup service for an estimated 420 residents and businesses in Somerville and many more throughout Greater Boston. For 10 bucks a week, food scraps and other compostable materials—think onion peels, old leftovers, coffee grounds, dead floral arrangements—go into a Bootstrap bucket instead of a trash bin and, from there, to local farms, where they’re turned into soil. …
Somerville’s waste emissions are lower than in other cities, too, because the city’s trash is incinerated to produce electricity at the Wheelabrator Saugus facility rather than being trucked hundreds of miles to a methane-producing landfill. But energy production facilities like this aren’t perfect, either. They leave behind ash which has to be landfilled itself, and Wheelabrator is located right next to the Rumney Marsh Preservation in Saugus. Waste Dive’s Rosengren recently reported that the Conservation Law Foundation filed a notice of intent to sue Wheelabrator Saugus over violations of environmental laws including the Clean Water Act, which Wheelabrator denies.
That’s why advocacy organizations, like the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, say that diverting food waste from your trash is always a good idea, no matter where your trash usually ends up. Composting extends the usefulness of food scraps and supports local farmers, all while minimizing negative environmental impacts of trash incineration and landfills.