Curbside Compost Pilot

In October 2015, the City expanded free weekly curbside pickup of food scraps to 5000 more households in the Monday collection route. Curbside compost is only available for buildings with less than 13 units that have a Monday trash/recycling pickup. Eligible residences got: instructions, an indoor kitchen bin with compostable bags, and a green curbside bin (to share at multi-family buildings). The finished compost, great for gardens is available to Cambridge residents April-October at the Recycling Center during open hours.

The City expects to expand compost collection citywide in subsequent years. In the meantime, all Cambridge residents are welcome to bring their food scraps to one of the drop off compost sites, or consider composting at home with a backyard bin or indoor bin.

Stores selling more compostable bags: 

  • Harvest Coop (580 Massachusetts Ave): Bags are located near front of the store in the far right aisle
  • Pemberton Farms (2225 Massachusetts Ave): Bags are located in the back of the store near ice cream
  • Tags Hardware (29 White Street): Bags are located on left side of store, in Housewares section.
  • Cambridge Naturals (23 White Street): Ask Customer Service for location of bags
  • Whole Foods (numerous locations): Ask Customer Service for location of bags

For a coupon for compostable bags, email

Why is composting a good thing?    

  • It’s nature's way of recycling food scraps and compost makes excellent soil to grow healthy food. 
  • It’s good for the environment and reducing waste feels good. Love food, hate waste! 
  • It helps protect the climate by reducing potent greenhouse gas emissions at landfills. 
  • Curbside compost collection will help the City control trash costs and meet its goals to reduce trash 30% by 2020 and 80% less by 2050. 
  • Farming and gardening with compost requires less water and helps to avoid the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

More Info:

The original 1 year pilot program began April 2014. A year later, over 600 participating households collected over 170,000 pounds of food scraps. Instead of being landfilled or sent to an incinerator, this material was made into rich compost by Rocky Hill Farm in Saugus, MA. During the pilot, the average amount of organics collected was 6.6 lbs per household per week, reducing trash by nearly 35%. The program maintained a satisfaction rate of 95%. Click here to the download the project reports. This project was funded in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Project partners also include Cambridge School Department, Cambridge Public Library, BioBag USA, and Novamont.


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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Recycling Center Hours
Tuesday & Thursday: 4:00pm-7:30pm  
Saturday: 9:00am-4:00pm