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Food Scrap Pickup in Cambridge

The last few weeks I’ve been helping get the word out about the new food scrap pickup program in Cambridge. A pilot program with just 500 residents was done last year, and this year they’re expanding it to about 5,000 residents on the Monday trash pickup route. I’m so excited that this includes me! The original pilot area ended one street over from my house, and I’ve been so jealous. As a consolation prize, the city has had a dropoff point a few blocks away at Danehy Park. I’ve been walking my food scraps down there (sometimes), but this is so much more convenient that I’m already being better about collecting them.

It's a lovely (tiny) bin.

It’s a lovely (tiny) bin.

Each building (with less than 13 units) has been given a small green bin to hold the scraps outdoors. It’s made of extra thick plastic and has a locking mechanism on the lid to deter rodent interest. We’ve also all been given a small, ventilated bin to collect the scraps indoors, along with a year’s supply of compostable bags to line it with (and coupons for more). They’re encouraging everyone to use the bags — tying them up and tossing them in the outdoor bins every couple of days — so it doesn’t get disgusting. I also keep my bin in my freezer, so the scraps don’t break down so quickly. The indoor bin also locks if you rotate the handle to the front, which makes you less likely to spill it.

A lot more things can be collected in this composting program than you can compost in your backyard. Because it’s composted at higher temperatures, even meat can be included, as well as soiled paper products. This means that even if you’re already composting yourself, this can still be useful.

The program’s already off to a great start, with more than 10 tons of food waste collected the first two weeks. If you’re on the Monday route and haven’t received your bins yet, or if you have questions about the program that aren’t answered by these FAQs, call 617-349-4815 or email And don’t be surprised if I show up at your door with a fluorescent yellow vest and big “volunteer” badge, trying to get the word out.


Comment from Sharon
Time November 10, 2015 at 9:57 am


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