SOMERVILLE – Furthering its commitment to sustainability and best practices surrounding trash and recycling policies, the City of Somerville announces its newest task force to review feasibility and implementation options for a Curbside Composting Initiative. Announced this week by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and to be co-Chaired by Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz, who is the Vice Chairperson of the Board of Aldermen’s Committee on Energy and Environment, the Curbside Composting Task Force is currently seeking applicants from the Somerville community.
The Task Force will be commissioned to research best practices for curbside composting, and provide recommendations on implementation in Somerville, including rollout, storage and disposal policies, and general regulations. The Task Force will consist of up to 9 members. Interested community members should submit a letter of intent to the Office of Sustainability and Environment care of Jackie Rossetti, along with a current resume or short personal statement detailing their interest and applicable skills or knowledge. Please email JRossetti@somervillema.gov or mail information to OSE c/o Jackie Rossetti, City Hall, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143. The deadline for applications is Monday, March 24.
“We are committed to a healthy, sustainable, and environmentally friendly City and we are also committed to seeking smart cost-savings, and curbside composting can help us reach both of those goals,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “In addition to our Zero-Sort Recycling program, which has dramatically increased recycling rates across the City, we are now looking to institute a community-wide Curbside Composting program that will increase trash diversion options for residents while lowering solid waste disposal costs to the City and its taxpayers. We also want to be sure this program emulates the needs and opinions of the community at large, which is why we have convened a task force to examine this program.”
“This initiative is truly one that has risen up from the community. I’ve been hearing for some time now from constituents who want us to find a better way than simply sending our food scraps to a landfill or incinerator,” said Alderman Gewirtz. “I’m eager to get to work with the task force to examine how best to integrate curbside composting into our recycling program so that we can both make use of this resource and reduce our solid waste costs.”
Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, the Somerville Office of Sustainability and Environment estimates that approximately 25% of Municipal Solid Waste in Somerville, after recycling is removed, consists of food waste. By weight, that’s 5,200 tons of food waste (10.4 million pounds) generated annually in Somerville, or roughly 130 pounds per person, at a total cost of roughly $750,000 per year for removal and disposal. Cities that have introduced composting programs across the country have demonstrated significant decreases in trash tonnage. Over a several month review period, the Task Force will examine these statistics as well as best practices for curbside composting to determine how a similar program might best benefit Somerville.