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Compost Cab

October 24, 2010

I had heard that Boston had a curbside recycling program where you sort your recyclables from your trash and leave it all on the sidewalk on the designated trash day. Well, one morning, I put out my bag of trash and my bag of recycling and watched the trash truck take both bags and heave them into the trash compactor then head down the road towards the landfill. I was pissed!

All that cardboard, paper, aluminum and glass that I had so diligently cleaned and sorted was merely being trashed. I immediately looked on the city’s website and have found this which says that there is curbside recycling but that you have to ask for and properly label a large blue bin. I placed my order several weeks ago and am patiently waiting for its arrival. What do you do with your recyclables?

In the meantime, I have been thinking about recycling the organic matter in my trash. It seems ridiculous to be throwing away food matter that could be turned into nutrient-rich soil. So composting… but how? Yes, I could get worms or I could just pile my apple cores and carrot peels in a corner of my patio but I don’t think my neighbors would be too appreciative.

I started looking to see if there are any city-wide composting programs and came across Compost Cab, a company in Washington D.C. that collects and distributes organic waste.

They give you a bin that you fill with organic matter, then pick it up once a week and truck it to a non-profit farm which turns it into soil. After you’ve been a participant for nine months, you can start to claim some of the end product. For every 50lbs of organic matter you give to Compost Cab, you get 5 lbs of soil. And if you don’t need it, they will donate it to a non-profit urban farm (ECO) which promotes educational opportunities in urban agriculture, community and a healthier food system. Pretty cool.

Boston offers composting containers for sale, but I like Compost Cab’s idea of returning the composted material back to the urban environment. Individual composting is great, but it can become more cyclical and efficient in a community model then that’s where urban agriculture should be headed.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 24, 2010 9:09 pm

    Thanks for the thoughtful post and kind words, Liza.

    As it happens, I was speaking this morning at the Green Festival in Washington DC on this very subject. The environmental benefits of composting are terrific. But the social and economic benefits of putting compostables in the hands of urban farmers and community gardeners are often overlooked, something we’re working hard to change at Compost Cab. In short, it’s not just about waste reduction. It’s about food production. Thanks for noticing.

    As for your own composting, if you know anyone who might be interested in bringing Compost Cab to Boston, please be in touch. And thanks again.


    Jeremy Brosowsky
    founder, Compost Cab

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