Letter to the Editor: Supporting Town-Wide Food Waste Composting

~Submitted by Karen Willson and Renu Bostwick for Bedford Mothers Out Front

Our current practice of tossing food waste into the trash is trashing our children’s future climate. Food waste in landfills releases methane, which fuels global warming. In contrast, composted food waste becomes a life-sustaining soil amendment. Soil enriched with compost can better absorb carbon from the atmosphere and can hold more moisture, which will be crucial as we face more summers with extreme heat and drought.

We need to adopt food waste composting as widely and quickly as possible and to make it as easy as possible for all residents, whether they are able-bodied or not, and whether they have extra disposable income or not. That’s why Bedford Mothers Out Front advocates for town-wide curbside pick-up of food waste for composting. We have collected 353 signatures so far on a petition asking the Select Board to help our Town achieve this.

At a recent Select Board meeting, the DPW presented their survey on current practices and public opinion about food waste composting. We learned that although there are many backyard composters in town, and a few hundred who pay privately for curbside pickup, most households do neither. The survey drew no strong conclusions about resident interest in participation, making clear the need for more education about the necessity and benefits of composting food waste.

Although we face obstacles to town-wide curbside pickup, such as budget constraints that prevent town-wide implementation all at once and a lack of local vendors with the capacity to haul and compost large quantities of food waste, we must find creative solutions that move us forward. Kudos to Liz Antanavica and David Manugian who proposed two different pilot projects to promote residential food waste composting that are feasible within the current DPW budget. We were delighted to hear several Select Board members voice support to go beyond the scale of these proposed projects, and of their support for town-wide food waste composting. Ed Pierce thoughtfully asked if there might be a way to transition portions of our Town to curbside food waste collection in stages, similar to the way Bedford rolled-out sanitary sewer hook-ups in phases long ago.

The Bedford Chapter of Mothers Out Front thanks our Select Board members and DPW for supporting the goal of town-wide food waste composting, seeking creative solutions that move us toward that goal of full transition, and helping to ensure a livable climate for all children.

The opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the writer, not The Bedford Citizen.

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Nancy Wolk
Nancy Wolk
2 months ago

My BHS 2020 grad encouraged us to compost after seeing how effective it was in the city of Toronto where she attends university. We agreed on a trial 6 months with Black Earth.
Now we don’t have a ton of food waste, in fact we often only have a single 2.5 gallon bag in our bin, but we have seen that every week, we can compost the food waste and get that out of the waste stream. We are fortunate enough to be able to afford this in our household budget. It would be wonderful if this could be done for all Bedford residents.

Deborah McKenna
Deborah McKenna
2 months ago
Reply to  Nancy Wolk

Our two person household experience is similar to yours, Nancy. Two neighbors are retired, as we are, and travel often. They put their food waste in our bin when they are in town.

Black earth also offers every other week pickup for a lower price, which may work well for small families. But it would be great for the planet if the whole town could get onboard.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x