Scarborough to provide compost collection service

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SCARBOROUGH — Residents will soon have the option of dropping off household compost at three places across town, under an agreement with Portland-based Garbage to Garden.

The announcement made by town councilors at their Wednesday meeting is in response to a study completed last month by the Energy Committee, which advised the town to consider alternative waste reduction options and inform the public about alternative methods.

The study also recommended hiring a part-time sustainability coordinator and adding disposal options for recyclables and compostable material. 

The town expects to have Garbage to Garden begin drop-off composting services by May 1. The company will charge the town $50 a ton.

A free public forum on how and what to compost will be held at the Municipal Building on Monday, April 11, from 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Nearly 30 percent – or about 2,200 tons – of the town’s waste is compostable, Councilor Jean-Marie Caterina said Wednesday night. Nineteen percent of local waste is recyclable, according to the Energy Committee’s study.

“The intent of this is to really add another option for folks,” Town Manager Tom Hall said at the March 16 meeting. 

The compost collection sites, while still being finalized, are likely to include Wal-Mart, 500 Gallery Boulevard; Maine Veteran’s Home, 290 U.S. Route 1, and Pine Tree Waste, 87 Pleasant Hill Road.  

Curbside trash and recycling services will remain the same, but “hopefully we will divert some of that kitchen waste out of the waste stream,” Chairman Bill Donovan said Thursday morning.

The hope is to “really make an effort of getting people to get in the rhythm of setting aside” compostable waste, whether in a bucket or in a freezer, in order to drop off at one of the designated sites, Donovan said after the March 16 meeting. 

Typically, composting services, like recycling, won’t offer curbside service unless there is “sufficient demand” for it, he said, and right now, there isn’t high demand in Scarborough.

The larger goal is to drum up more local support for the new waste reduction option so curbside service becomes an option, Donovan said.

The town will add stickers, illustrating materials that can and can’t be recycled and composted, on public bins, as just a “quick little reference,” and to make the methods “easier to understand,” Hall said at the meeting. 

It’s about “just getting people educated, (and) getting people on board,” Caterina said. 

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or aacquisto@theforecaster.net. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

Scarborough will add these stickers about composting and recycling to waste bins as part of a larger effort to cut down on the town’s waste stream.

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South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.