In 2019, Massachusetts residents generated about 154 pounds of food waste per person. While we are making progress (it was 158 in 2018), that number is not small potatoes. The good news is organic material is a waste stream we can all manage, if we harness nature’s inherent recycling system. Here are some things individuals can do to minimize the food we waste and keep our food scraps out of the trash:

  • Eat your food. Take a look at for tips and tools to help you prepare meals, calculate how much food you’ll need for a gathering, and store your food so it lasts longer. They’ve also got a lot of great pictures of food that might just inspire you to eat your leftovers.
  • Compost at home. Check out this YouTube video: Turn Garbage into Gold Composting at Home to learn all about home composting.Backyard compost bins and worm bins (aka vermiculture) can reduce or eliminate the amount of food scraps you put in your trash all year long. What can be composted at home?
    • All vegetative food scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea
    • Yard waste – leaves, grass clippings, pruning, weeds, garden debris, brush, pine needles, etc.
    • Compostable paper – paper towels, napkins, plates, waxed paper, bakery tissues, tea bags, coffee filters, newspapers, paper bags, etc. — In other words, the majority of our organic household waste can be composted at home, even if you don’t have an outdoor space!

    **Compost bins and kitchen scrap buckets are available for purchase at Newton City Hall Customer Service or online. Pick up items at the Newton Resource Recovery Center with proof of payment.**

  • Subscribe to a food waste composting service and have your food waste picked up at your house.

    **The City of Newton has partnered with Black Earth Compost  to offer household curbside food waste collection service. The service will cost Newtonians $59.99 for six months, plus a one-time start-up fee of $34 to pay for a 13-gallon lockable cart to collect food waste for weekly pick-up on the curb.**
  • Take it to a locally run composting collection site. Check your municipality’s website to find out if there’s a food waste drop-off location. Sometimes these are at your local transfer station.

    **The City of Newton offers free organic waste dropoff at the Rumford Avenue Resource Recovery Center. You must make an appointment to visit the RRC by calling City Hall at 617-796-1000.**
  • If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these four communities (Cambridge, Hamilton, Wenham, and Manchester) place it curbside in the organics container provided by your municipality.

    **Let your City Councilor know that you would like a city-wide organics curbside pick up program for residents.**

The above information was excerpted from the February 24, 2021 edition of the RecycleSmart NewsletterFor more information about composting and organics pickup in Newton, visit the City of Newton’s Composting page.