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Curbside Food Waste Collection

Curbside food waste collection is here!

Enrollment is now open for free, curbside food waste collection service for Boston residents. To qualify, you must live in a building with six-units or less. Food scraps collected curbside will be used to make nutrient-rich soil and clean energy. Service will begin in August 2022. 

If you live in a big building, you can use Project Oscar community compost drop-offs located throughout the City to compost food scraps!

Sign Up for Curbside Food Waste Collection

Enrollment is open city-wide, space is limited so sign up today!

You can sign up for curbside food waste collection through the link below. Our partners at Garbage to Garden will reach out with more information.

Sign up for Curbside Food Waste Collection

How-to Collect Food Scraps

How-to Guide

To start, we recommend that you:

  • Store your food scraps in the kitchen container included in your starter kit on your kitchen countertop, or under your kitchen sink. 
  • Keep your container where you produce most of your compostable waste.
  • Bring your compostable waste outside to your curbside bin every day and be sure to clean it regularly.
  • Select a good place for your curbside bin. Focus on accessibility, shade, and shelter from rain and snow. Taking good care of your bin will help prevent pests and odors.
  • Remember, you are not making more organic waste than before, just sending it to a different bin. Separating your food scraps actually keeps your trash from producing odor. So, you can take your trash out less often and not worry about stinky, dripping, trash.

Line your bin to ensure it can be emptied. You can use a double-lined paper bag, BPI, CMA, or OK Compost certified compostable bin liners. If you line your countertop bin, you do not need to also line your curbside bin.

You may not use plastic bags to line your bins.

Avoid contamination by only throwing out compostable materials in your bin. There is a full list of accepted materials included in your starter kit.

Contaminated bins will not be collected.

Make sure your bin is on the sidewalk, and not blocked by garbage bins, trees, etc. on your collection day. You can find your collection day through the Trash Day App.

Composting your food scraps reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and waste to energy facilities. It also helps the environment by enriching soil, giving new plants nutrients to grow. Go you!

Thanks for participating!

Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions

Yes, each unit in your building should sign up separately, and will receive their own green curbside bin. 

  • We will accept brown paper bags or certified compostable bags. Look for the BPI, CMA or OK Compost certified compostable logos. You may NOT use plastic bags as liners. 
  • Yes, this makes collection much easier for the drivers and helps keep your collection bins clean. You can choose to line either your kitchen container or curbside bin. You do not need to line both. If you do not want to purchase compostable bags, you can always line your curbside bin with a paper bag. 

Bin deliveries will begin in June 2022. They will continue on an ongoing basis. Once you enroll, you will receive a welcome email, including when to expect your bin to be delivered.

If you need a bin replacement, please call Customer Care at Garbage to Garden at 617-977-4547, or email info@garbagetogarden.org. New bins will be delivered on your following service day.

The City of Boston is collaborating with Garbage to Garden and Save That Stuff to bring curbside food waste collection to Boston. 

Garbage to Garden provides curbside composting service to thousands of households in Massachusetts and Maine. The program began with the idea to make municipal-scale composting easy, clean, and accessible to all.

Save That Stuff has become a leading fully-integrated service provider for:

  • recycling
  • organics-to-energy-recycling, and
  • composting.

Headquartered in Charlestown, Save That Stuff also has a composting facility in Brockton/West Bridgewater. They will be processing the food scraps collected in this program at both facilities.

  • We partner with Garbage to Garden and Save That Stuff to collect residential food waste. They take the food waste to Charlestown to be made into renewable energy, or to Brockton to be made into compost. 

Both the 12-gallon curbside bin and countertop bin include a latching lid that seals in odors. The use of compostable liners can help keep the bin clean week-to-week. The liners also allow for:

  • easy removal of food waste on collection day
  • easy wipe-downs of the container for maintenance, and
  • help prevent spills from any liquids when tied shut.

For particularly smelly food items (like meat scraps, seafood shells, or expired dairy), it can be helpful to:

  • wrap those food scraps in newspaper, and
  • store those in a small container in the freezer until your service day.

Like preventing odors, unwanted pests should not be an issue if your bin is properly maintained. Keeping the bin closed and secured with the latch will help prevent attracting flies or bugs. If the bin is kept outside, it can prevent rodents and other critters from accessing your food scraps.

Using the fridge or freezer method (mentioned in the answer above) with meat, dairy, or seafood scraps can be an extra precaution for avoiding attracting pests to your bin.

  • We will inform you if you have been added to a waitlist. Every year we will be adding more households until we are citywide. 

Once you’re enrolled, you will receive a starter kit that includes:

  • a kitchen container
  • a roll of compostable liners
  • a curbside bin, and
  • educational materials to help both new composters and seasoned pros make a plan about how they will be collecting food scraps. 
  • Service for larger multi-family buildings can be arranged through a private contract between your building manager and companies offering commercial composting service.

If you will be away for longer than three weeks, please notify the Garbage to Garden customer care team by calling 617-977-4547 so that your account is not marked as inactive. You can also log into your account to "Request a Temporary Service Suspension" and enter the dates you will be away.

As there are a limited number of spaces available in this program, we want to make sure those who have signed are making use of this service.

  • If you no longer want to participate, we ask that you suspend your service so your spot can be offered to another resident. If you are moving, please notify us so that your position can be offered to the next resident. 
Watch: Getting Started With Curbside Food Waste Collection

What You Can Put in Your Green Bin

Accepted Items
  • All food items
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Non-synthetic tea bags
  • Eggs, eggshells, and egg cartons
  • Grains, pasta, and bread
  • Wax and parchment paper
  • Fruits and vegetables (remove stickers)
  • Cookies, cake, and candy
  • Yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and butter
  • Cooking oil and grease (collect in a separate plastic container)
  • Meat and Seafood (including raw)
  • Bones and shells
  • Compostable service ware
  • Stove, grill, and fireplace ash (please tie off bag)
  • Houseplants and flowers
  • Pet food
  • Nut and coconut shells
  • Hair, fur, and feathers
  • Pet bedding (no cat or dog waste)
  • We accept the following soiled items. Please no chemical or cleaner soil. 
    • Napkins and paper towels
    • Compostable service ware
    • Tissues (no bodily fluids)
    • Newspaper (for wrapping food, recycle otherwise)
    • Brown paper bags (for lining bins)
    • Cardboard pizza boxes (stacked under your curbside bin)
  • Plastic: cups, containers, food and candy wrappers, plastic wrap, etc. 
  • Plastic bags: shopping bags, produce bags, garbage bags, chip bags, etc. 
  • Cartons: milk, juice, ice cream, broth, and soup containers
  • Take out containers and cups (unless BPI, CMA, or OK Compost certified compostable)
  • Grass clippings (use our leaf and yard waste pickup service instead)
  • Used compostable diapers
  • Laundry lint or dryer sheets
  • Mail, shiny paper, and magazines
  • Plastic and waxed cardboard
  • Shredded paper
  • Textiles
  • Chemically soiled materials
  • Dog or cat waste
  • Rubber bands, twist ties, and staples
  • Produce stickers
  • Meal box insulation
  • Packing peanuts
  • Dead animals

Volunteer Opportunities

Help the City of Boston get the word out about our new Curbside Food Waste Collection program.

Help canvas Boston neighborhoods to inform your community about Curbside Food Waste Collection. Fill out this form if you are interested in volunteering, and our partners at Garbage to Garden will reach out and tell you how you can help!

Sign up to volunteer
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