We received a letter from the City of Portland last week informing us that as of October 31st, Portland residents will be composting their food scraps (and a few other items) instead of including them with their regular trash.
I first heard about the idea of a city wide ban on organic matter in trash, while reading an off-hand comment in one of the Rookie Moms articles (she lives in Berkley, CA). It sounded so fascinating and awesome that an entire city would get behind waste reduction in such a huge way. I wasn’t aware at the time, that my very own city was taking steps to do the same thing.
According to OregonLive.com, Portland started a pilot program for curbside compost pickup in Spring 2010. The program was, apparently, successful and now they’re rolling it out city wide!
According to this OPB news article, 30% of our trash is made up of food scraps. Can you imagine, reducing and entire city’s contribution to landfills by 30%!? It’s so awesome, it gives me chills. Go ahead, call me a tree-hugger…I can take it!
Under the new program, our recycling will continue to be picked up weekly, our yard debris (which is where we deposit our food scraps) will also be weekly (instead of bi-monthly), and our trash collection will move to bi-monthly. That shouldn’t be a big deal, if their math is right, and food scraps truly make up 30% of our trash.
I’m super excited about this shift, but also equally nervous. I’ve never had to separate out food scraps from the rest of our trash. Will it smell? Where do we put the compost container? How do we keep it clean? Our trash cans live outside—will I have an issue with animals getting into our yard debris container??
If you have any experience composting your organic waste, I’d love to hear about it and any tips or words of caution you have to share!
I’d also love to hear about what waste service is like where you live. Are we just crazy out here in Portland, or is the rest of the US moving in this direction as well?