Composting is a wonderful and easy way to not only reduce waste, but to enrich the earth for plants and other organisms that live in the soil. Our planet is running out of space for our trash, and according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, about 30% of the waste that we throw into the household trash is food. In a landfill, this organic waste contributes to the generation of methane, and what could be a valuable resource for soil health is lost. Composting can reduce your household waste by up to 30% and your trash bin will smell much cleaner without rotting food. You will also reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills or incinerators due to less garbage.
What is Composting?
Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants.
Top Benefits of Composting:
- Lowers your carbon footprint by reducing methane emissions (a potent greenhouse gas) at landfills
- Upcycles your waste into productive, environmentally valuable matter
- Sequesters more carbon from the air
- Help prevent soil erosion and assists with stormwater management
- Enriches soil, allowing plants to absorb more nutrients
It’s Easy! Here’s How to Start Composting
Start by collecting your food scraps in a small, covered bin on your countertop. Most bins work to minimize odor effectively and come in many styles to match the decor of your kitchen. From there, you have several options:
1. Curbside Pickup with Black Earth Compost:
The City of Newton’s preferred compost partner Black Earth Compost offers weekly curbside pickup service of all your organics including meat, grease, cheese, and bones (see the full list of accepted items). The cost per month is roughly $10. Here is the breakdown: The service costs Newtonians $59.99 for six months, plus a one-time start-up fee of $34 to pay for a 13-gallon lockable cart and two packs of compostable bin liners to collect food waste for weekly pick-up on the curb. Sharing a cart with a neighbor would cut your pick-up fees in half. The company also offers compostable cart liners to make composting even more convenient. You will receive a voucher for a free bag of finished compost in the spring, which you can use on your plants.
The more Newtonians that sign up, the cheaper the service becomes. As of July 2022, three thousand Newton residents are composting with Black Earth.
2. Compost in Your Backyard:
Composting in your backyard is a great alternative and also eliminates the carbon from the transportation that is required from the other options. The City of Newton sells two models of composting bins or you could build your own. Read instructions on the basics of composting, and watch a short video about composting.
3. Bring Your Food Scraps to the Resource Recovery Center
In November 2020, Newton launched a no-cost organics drop-off program at the Resource Recovery Center (115 Rumford Ave, Auburndale). Residents can drop-off all food waste including fruit and vegetable peels, meat/bones, seafood shells, and other kitchen scraps along with paper towels and paper napkins. You can store food scraps in your freezer until you’re ready to bring them in. Food scraps are composted by Black Earth to become a soil amendment. Refer to their guidelines for acceptable materials.
Composting at Apartments
Black Earth Compost offers a smaller, 4-gallon bin, and can accommodate pick ups at apartment buildings if there are acceptable visible locations their trucks can access. Check with your building facilities to see if there is a place you can leave it.
Vermicomposting, or indoor composting with worms, is another space saving option. You can make your own bin or purchase one that has added convenience features through retailers. It is simple to do, and makes a fun science project for kids!
Composting for Businesses
Do you own a restaurant or business in Newton that is interested in composting? Visit Black Earth Compost and join local businesses like Johnny’s Luncheonette, Jinny’s Pizzeria, Sycamore, and Little Big Diner that compost with Black Earth Compost. Together they are keeping 4 tons of food scraps out of the landfill each month!