Portland offering deals on composting equipment

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PORTLAND — Composting food and yard waste can reduce how much households spend on those special blue garbage bags each year, and for the next two months the city is offering residents incentives to do just that.

For the third year, the city’s Public Services Department is offering discounts on compost bins, kitchen scrap pails, compost aerators and rain barrels.

Composting offers an alternative to using pesticides to fertilize lawns and gardens, and it reduces solid waste. According to the city, 25 percent of the average household’s waste is from material that could be composted. Composting along with recycling and yard waste programs can reduce household waste by up to 80 percent.

In an e-mail announcing the discount program, the city’s Solid Waste Program Manager Troy Moon said, “If we can get Portland residents to consider yardscaping practices and use compost as an alternative to fertilizers for their lawns and gardens, we can remove toxins from our storm water and reduce waste management costs at the same time.”

The city, along with Maine Resource Recovery Association, is offering the 80-gallon “Earth Machine Backyard Compost Bin” for $40. The bins regularly cost $100. Kitchen scrap pails with hinged lids are available for $8, and hold up to two gallons of scraps. Wingdiggers, a tool for aerating compost, are $17 and the 55-gallon rain barrels are $57.

Residents can order the products through May 1. Orders must be done by mailing an order form to the Department of Public Services, 55 Portland St., 04101, or stopping in to place an order in person. Order forms are available at City Hall or online at publicworks.portlandmaine.gov/compostform.pdf. Checks should be made out to MRRA.

All orders can be picked up May 22 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the city’s Solid Waste Division, located on District Road, accessed at 2360 Congress St.