Food Waste Composting: A Letter to the Quincy Sun

December 12, 2017

Dear Editor,

The Quincy DPW recently won a grant from the state that allows it to sell backyard composters for $25, half the previous, already discounted price. Whether you garden or just care about the health of our planet, I’d urge you to visit the DPW at 55 Sea Street weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and get yourself one of these great devices—or buy one as a gift.

I’m one of several members of Quincy Climate Action Network who use composters to process their household food waste, a practice that benefits both the city budget and the environment. Quincy pays by weight for trash collection, so waste that doesn’t get collected saves the city money. Compared to land-filling or incineration, composting food waste also greatly reduces the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, a major threat to life and property in our coastal community. Finally, composting food waste yields a rich organic fertilizer that plants really love—and at no cost to the gardener. In my household we’ve enjoyed organic vegetables for years, grown in our yard with our own homemade compost.

Of course, not everyone has the time or inclination for backyard composting. That’s why it’s also important for the city to include separation and curbside pickup of food waste in its revamped waste collection system.

For years, West Coast cities like San Francisco and Seattle have provided residents with a separate bin for food waste, which is collected and then sent to a composting facility. Closer to home, Cambridge recently launched a pilot program that includes curbside pickup and composting of food waste for some of that city’s neighborhoods–a program that’s been so successful it’s slated to go citywide in April.

For the last year or so, QCAN has been meeting with city officials, urging them to do the same. Years ago, Quincy was one of the first municipalities in our area to separate plastics, metals, and paper for recycling—at considerable savings to the city. Curbside food waste collection/composting offers us the chance to save more money while helping tackle climate change.

David Reich

Board Chair, Quincy Climate Action Network