OP-ED: Reasons for Watertown Residents to Try Composting

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The following piece was written by Watertown Recycling and Sustainability Coordinator Anya Pforzheimer:

Why might I want to try composting?

A few reasons to give the free Watertown compost pickup program a try:

• I keep running out of space in my trash every week.
o This is a great reason to give it a try.
o Recent research has shown that nearly 1/3 of the materials that we are throwing away in household trash could be composted.
o Removing the food from your trash leaves space for other materials that we cannot recycle or compost.

• I want to help do my part to address the increase in rat activity.
o Also a good reason to start!
o The compost bins have snapping lids that prevent animals from getting into them. This type of lid also creates a smell barrier, which means that rats are not aware that there is food nearby.
o Taking food scraps out of the trash bins, which are not smell-proof or rodent proof, means that the rats are likely to move away from your house, since they cannot access any food.

• I hate when my trash bag smells.
o Since all the food scraps are in a locked bin that I can keep safely outside on my porch, my trash bin is typically only filled with plastic wrapping and containers that are non-recyclable, like bubble wrap, cling film, and plastic bags.
o My trash bag is clean and does not stink up my kitchen, which means I don’t need to tie it up and take it out as often during the week.

• I want to do my part to prevent waste.
o Love that!
o Organic materials like food are part of a larger nutrient system. When we throw away our food and it goes to landfill or incineration, we stop that cycle.
o When organic materials are burned or put in a landfill, we lose all the nutrients that they contained, which means our soil is less rich and our future food is not as nutrient dense. Composting helps to return those nutrients to the soil, which in turn creates healthier food for us to grow and eat.

• I heard something about methane and food waste.
o Yep — and it’s a big deal!
o Food and other organic materials that decompose in landfills, without oxygen, create methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas.
o When these materials are composted, air is mixed in as part of the process to ensure that methane is not created.
o Diverting food scraps away from landfill is a great way to combat climate change.

Residents get a 13-gallon bin and a free starter roll of compostable liners. Sign up today:

— From your friendly neighborhood recycling coordinator

5 thoughts on “OP-ED: Reasons for Watertown Residents to Try Composting

  1. Yes!! We began with Black Earth Composting from the very first day. I want to affirm everything said here. There is NO smell. We keep our bin at the bottom of our basement steps – it’s THAT odor-free. We opted to purchase large bags for the bin + small bags for a counter compost container to keep it all neater. We just empty the small bag into the large bag – unless we’re cleaning out the fridge and find old food or freezer burned bags of veggies.

    Our trash is significantly reduced – you can put paper towels used with food, compostable parchment paper, wine corks, chop sticks, cat hair, so much more.

    And, I got rid of our big cumbersome composter in the back yard!! Win win all the way.

  2. I just started the Black Earth Compost process a couple of months ago and I love it. One more advantage I discovered was reduced guilt about throwing food away! Send it back to the earth!

    I keep the compost bin on our back porch so that the other residents in our two family house can use it, and they appreciate the composting too. On weekly trash day, I simply take the bin out with the garbage cans to the street and it gets picked up. It’s easy.

  3. My husband and I signed up for Black Earth Composting the very first day it was offered by the town. I completely agree with the statements made by both of the above commentators. The company is reliable and easy to contact by email. We have been extremely pleased with the service, and are amazed by how much our weekly trash has been reduced.
    I also want to emphasize one other thing. This is a free service provided by the town! (I realize that we ultimately pay for it via our taxes). Our daughter lives in Worcester. She had signed up with Black Rock about a year and a half ago as an individual paying customer, as Worcester DPW does not offer the service. She had convinced us that we should do the same, and we were just about to so when Watertown announced that it would be offering the service free to residents.
    The only cost to Watertown residents is the purchase of compostable bags after the initial free order. You can order the bags directly from Black Rock by email if you wish and they drop them off at your house at the time of their next pick up. They come in large and small sizes. The large one fits the 13 gallon container which is provided by the program. We also punched a small container (on-line) to put on our kitchen counter. We use the small bags for that. I urge you to give this program a try.

  4. I also like this program. If I don’t have much in my bag on my regular trash pickup day, I often take the bag and empty it into the big green compost barrel at the recycle center on Friday or Saturday. I’ve also done this on occasional Tuesdays at the center if I find old items in my fridge that I didn’t get out in time. It’s a great service, especially for people who don’t have garbage disposals or just prefer to compost whatever they can this way.

    With some people having their own compost bins on their properties, I worry that rats can be drawn to yards if they have access to these bins. We already have rat problems in so many areas of the city, we don’t need to encourage them to linger in our yards.

  5. I agree with all that has been said about the positive use of the Black Earth composting. There is no downside. There is no odor; it is convenient to use; we have less in our trash bin; and it such a simple way to be a part of improving the environment.

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