Curbside Compost


Who is eligible for the curbside compost program?

If you live in a building with 1 to 12 units and have City trash collection, you will be eligible to begin curbside composting in April 2018. 

Do I need to sign up?

No, you don't need to sign up. If your building is eligible for the curbside compost program, bins and materials will be delivered to your building between March 26 and April 5. If you are in the Monday collection route, email Recycle@CambridgeMA.Gov to get materials.

Why should residents use compostable bags?

Compostable plastic bags keep bins clean and keep odors to a minimum. They also make it easier to bring food scraps from your kitchen out to your compost cart on your way out. You may line your kitchen bin with paper bags instead, but please no regular plastic bags; they aren't accepted.

Will composting smell in my home?

If you use compostable bags and keep liquids out, you should be able to keep bins nearly odor free. Bring food scraps out to the curbside compost bin every 3-4 days to minimize odors.

What are the results of the pilot compost program?

The pilot compost program began with 600 participating households in 2014. The program expanded in 2015 to all 1 to 12-unit households on the Monday collection route, approximately 5,200 households. In two years, the City has diverted more than 800 tons of compostable materials, averaging 10 pounds per bin per week. Participating residents report high rates of satisfaction with the program because it’s convenient and easy, it cuts down on trash, and it’s good for the environment. After expanding the program to 20,000 more households across the City in Spring 2018, we anticipate diverting 40-50 tons of food scraps out of the landfill each week.

WHAT CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE IN RESPONSE TO FEEDBACK FROM PILOT PARTICIPANTS?

Since the pilot, residents can expect the following program enhancements:

  • A new 35-gallon capacity cart will be available for 3 to 12-unit buildings, which is designed to be rodent-proof, easier to lock than the 21-gallon carts, and easier to empty with semi-automation collectors on the truck.

  • Eligible households will also receive EcoSafe 6400 compostable bags, which pilot participants preferred over previously available ones because it is less prone to leak, break, or wick moisture. These bags should help keep bins clean and minimize odors.

  • Additionally, during the pilot, residents preferred kitchen bins that are simple to lock and unlock, with a solid bottom, which is easier to clean, and ventilation on the lid only. The new kitchen bins meet these criteria and, in the future, may also enable residents to line curbside bins with compostable bags instead.

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139

Phone:617.349.4800
TDD:617.499.9924

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