In June of this year, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, announced his Zero Waste Boston plan with the goal of reducing the amount of garbage produced by 80% by the year 2035. According to Brian Coughlin, Boston’s Superintendent of Waste Reduction, about 36% Boston’s trash is organics – food and yard waste – that could be composted, 7% of the city’s trash is clothing, and 39% could be recycled.
As part of the “Zero Waste Boston” plan, the city has released a request for information (RFI) seeking ideas for a program that would reduce the amount of organics that residents currently dispose of each week for curbside collection. It is specifically looking for how their recommendations would decrease food waste, create cost savings for the city, decrease environmental impacts, and support the city’s goals to go carbon neutral by 2050.
Suggested topics to be addressed include:
- composting/anaerobic digestion;
- garbage disposals; and,
- public education.
The city has also released a request for proposals (RFP) for an official food waste compost partnership with the city which would run on a subscription service for residents and a curbside textile recycling collection RFP which would be free, with a revenue share proposal for the city.
The plan is estimated cost $58 million a year to implement, with about $40 million potentially offset by reduced trash collection and disposal. Overall, the city estimates a net cost of about $5 per household per month.
“Think about the amount of materials being sent to incinerators,” says Chris Cook, Boston’s chief of environment, energy and open space. “If there’s recyclable materials or compostable materials in that mix, we’re never going to reach carbon neutrality, so we have to begin down this road.”