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Local News

November 12, 2013

City to launch compost program

SALEM — Got compost?

The city of Salem will launch a pilot program for curbside pickup of compostable organic matter this spring.

Up to 1,500 Salem households will receive a 12-gallon bin to collect kitchen scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, pizza boxes and other biodegradable items to put them out to the curb with their weekly trash and recycling.

The pilot program — similar to ones already in place in Hamilton, Wenham and Ipswich — comes after 220 residents expressed interest in curbside composting in an online survey organized by the Salem Recycling Committee.

Like recycling, compost pickup is a way to reduce the city’s trash tonnage.

“It really helps preserve resources,” said Julie Rose, the recycling committee’s business manager. “It eventually would reduce costs down the road (and) take things out of the waste stream. Environmentally, it’s the right thing to do, and people have shown an interest in it.”

The compost bins, covered by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, will have wheels and locking lids. Participants will also receive a smaller countertop container for collecting kitchen scraps.

Details — such as how soon the program will begin, where the compost would go and what items could be composted — are yet to be worked out. Rose said a team at City Hall will begin meeting this week to organize the program.

In Hamilton, Wenham and Ipswich, compost is picked up by the town’s trash hauler and taken to Brick Ends farm in Hamilton. Residents, in turn, are able to get free finished compost for their gardens from Brick Ends.

Salem’s director of public services, John Tomasz, was previously the public works director in Hamilton, so he’s familiar with the program.

Salem was awarded MassDEP grants this fall to cover the cost of compost bins and a liaison to plan and carry out the pilot program.

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