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Somerville eyes curbside composting to cut down on food waste

Posted by Brock Parker  February 25, 2014 12:07 PM

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Somerville is assembling a task force to study a curbside composting initiative to cut down food waste in the city.

Mayor Joseph Curtatone’s office announced Tuesday that the city is seeking applicants for the task force, which will be co-chaired by Ward 6 Alderwoman Rebekah Gewirtz.

The task force will research the best practices for curbside composting and make recommendations on implementing and regulating a program in Somerville.

According to the mayor’s office, about 5,200 tons of food waste is generated in Somerville each year, equaling about 130 pounds per person. The city estimated that it costs roughly $750,000 to remove and dispose of the waste.

Curtatone said in a press release that a curbside composting program could help the city save money and reach sustainability and environmentally friendly goals.

“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,” Curtatone said.

In the joint press release, Gewirtz said the initiative has arisen from people in the community who want to find a better alternative to sending food scraps to a landfill or incinerator.

“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,” said Gewirtz, who is also the vice chair of the Board of Aldermen’s committee on energy and environment.

The task force will have nine members and applications are due by Monday, March 24. Community members interested in applying should submit a letter of intent to the city’s Office of Sustainability and Environment, care of Jackie Rossetti, along with a current resume or short personal statement detailing interest or applicable knowledge. Rossetti can be reached at JRossetti@somervillema.gov or by mail at OSE c/o Jackie Rossetti, City Hall, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA, 02143.

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