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These items can be put in your curbside food waste bin. If it grows, it goes!
  • All food items
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Non synthetic tea bags
  • Eggs, eggshells, and egg cartons
  • Grains, pasta, and bread
  • Wax and parchment paper
  • Fruits and vegetables (remove stickers)
  • Cookies, cake, and candy
  • Yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and butter
  • Cooking oil and grease (collect in a separate plastic container)
  • Meat and Seafood (including raw)
  • Bones and shells
  • Food soiled paper and compostable service ware
  • Stove, grill, and fireplace ash (please tie off bag)
  • Houseplants and flowers
  • Pet food
  • Nut and coconut shells
  • Hair, fur, and feathers
  • Pet bedding (no cat or dog waste)
  • We accept the following soiled items. Please no chemical or cleaner soil. 
    • Napkins and paper towels
    • Compostable tableware
    • Tissues (no bodily fluids)
    • Paper towel and toilet paper tubes
    • Newspaper (for wrapping food, recycle otherwise)
    • Brown paper bags (for lining bins)
    • Cardboard pizza boxes (stacked under your curbside bin)
Don’t put these items into your curbside food waste bin. Contaminated bins will not be collected.
  • Plastic: Cups, containers, food and candy wrappers, plastic wrap, etc.
  • Plastic Bags: shopping bags, garbage bags, produce bags, chip bags, etc.
  • Cartons: milk, juice, ice cream, broth, and soup containers
  • Take out containers and cups (unless certified compostable)
  • Grass Clippings (use our leaf and yard waste pickup service instead)
  • Christmas trees and wreaths (use our Christmas tree collection instead)
  • Used compostable diapers
  • Laundry lint or dryer sheets
  • Mail, shiny paper, and magazines
  • Plastic and waxed cardboard
  • Shredded paper
  • Textiles
  • Chemically soiled materials
  • Dog or cat waste
  • Rubber bands, twist ties, and staples
  • Produce stickers
  • Meal box insulation
  • Packing peanuts
Composting at a commercial/industrial scale is much different than composting in your backyard. It is true that you should not add animal products, large quantities of food-soiled paper, and other items on our list of acceptable items to your backyard compost pile, but at this scale it is possible to include these products and they will break down properly through the composting process. The high temperatures reached in thermophilic composting mitigate the risk of pathogens and disease resulting from the inclusion of these items.
We will accept brown paper bags or certified compostable bags –look for the BPI, CMA or OK Compost certified compostable logos. You may NOT use plastic bags as liners. Once enrolled, you can order liners through your MyAccount log in.
Yes, we ask that all residents use liners. This makes collection much easier for the drivers and helps keep your collection bins clean. You can choose to line either your kitchen container, or curbside bin. You do not need to line both.
This program, which began in August 2022 for year one participants, is full. To participate in year two, beginning in Summer 2023, we recommend adding your name to the waitlist ASAP. Waitlisted residents may be accepted sooner, if places in the program open up. If so, you will be contacted directly when you become eligible to participate.
Your collection day will align with your weekly trash day, and we ask that your bin be placed curbside before 6am (or the night before) to ensure collection. For residents with two weekly trash collection days, we will collect on one of those two days (for most residents it will be the first of the two collection days). Once you have created your account log in, you can verify your collection day there.
When there are holiday changes to our collection schedule, we will send an email notification in advance of the upcoming holiday. We will also post reminders to our social media pages, and include one on this website home page. There is no collection on legal or observed holidays recognized by the City of Boston. In the case of a Monday holiday, or one observed on Monday, all routes will be delayed by one day throughout the week. This may not align with your trash and recycling collection schedule, so please make sure to review schedule email alerts carefully.
If you need a bin replacement, please call the Garbage to Garden Customer Service team at (617) 977-4547, or email info@garbagetogarden.org. New bins will be delivered on your following service day.
Garbage to Garden and Save That Stuff have teamed up to provide curbside food waste collection for the City of Boston. Since being awarded the contract, we have formed a single joint venture, designed and built a new fleet of custom-designed collection trucks, and brought together a great team to provide a top-notch food waste collection service for the City. Learn more on our Partners page.
Food waste collected by this program will be processed at one of two facilities. The composting facility located on the Brockton/West Bridgewater line, owned by Save That Stuff, uses an open air turned windrow composting process to turn your food scraps into a nutrient rich compost. Food waste brought to the CORe in Charlestown is recycled by anaerobic digestion to create renewable energy. Learn more about the processing methods here.
The City of Boston and our compost partners are closely monitoring the evolving situation with the forever chemicals PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Both of our processing sites test for these substances and are meeting state and federal guidelines. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has approved our program and is working closely with us on any new developments. We understand that there are concerns around this topic, please reach out to our customer service team at Garbage to Garden with any questions at info@garbagetogarden.org.
We do not accept woody yard waste because these items are unlikely to break down in the composting process or the anaerobic digestion process. Please keep yard waste separate from your food waste at this time. For more information on Boston yard waste collection, please visit www.boston.gov/yardwaste
Once service has begun and your MyAccount is active, you will be able to purchase bags of finished compost online for delivery to your home. For community gardeners, you can fill out this form and get compost delivered to your garden. For schools, you can fill out the form with your school email and then pick up the compost from Landscape Express.
Both the 12-gallon curbside bin and countertop bin include a latching lid that seals in odors, and the use of compostable liners help keep the bin clean week to week. The liners also allow for easy removal of food waste on collection day, easy wipe-downs of the container for maintenance, and help prevent spills from any liquids when tied shut. For particularly smelly food items (like meat scraps, seafood shells, or expired dairy), it can be helpful to store those in a small container in the freezer until your service day.
Like preventing odors, unwanted pests should not be an issue if your bin is properly maintained. Keeping the bin closed and secured with the latch will help prevent attracting flies or bugs, and if the bin is kept outside, can prevent rodents and other critters from accessing your food scraps. Using the fridge/freezer method (mentioned in the answer above) with meat, dairy, or seafood scraps can be an extra precaution for avoiding attracting pests to your bin.
While enrollment is currently full for the first year of this program, residents are encouraged to sign up for the waitlist. Every year we will be adding more households until we are citywide. Residents on the waitlist will be enrolled automatically in the next enrollment period for service beginning in Summer 2023, and may be able to participate in the program sooner as spaces open up. You will be notified when you are moved from the waitlist to an active participant.
The starter kit includes a kitchen container, a roll of compostable liners, a curbside bin, and educational materials to help both new composters and seasoned pros make a plan about how they will be collecting food scraps.
The 12-gallon curbside bin is approximately 18”L x 16”W x 27"H. We recommend using a 23-gallon certified compostable liner for this size. The kitchen container holds 1.85 gallons, and measures approximately 9”L x 13”W x9”H. We recommend using a 3-gallon certified compostable liner for this size.
Each apartment or unit should sign up separately in order to receive their own starter kit.
Service for larger multi-family buildings can be arranged through a private contract with your building manager. Landlords and building managers should contact us for a quote and to set up this service.
If you will be away for longer than 3 weeks, please notify the Garbage to Garden customer care team by calling (617) 977-4547 so that your account is not marked as inactive. You can also log into your account to ‘Request a Temporary Service Suspension’ and enter the dates you will be away. As there are a limited number of spaces available in this program, we want to make sure those who have signed up are making use of this service.
If you no longer want to participate, we ask that you suspend your service so your spot can be offered to another resident. If you are moving, please notify us so that your position can be offered to the next resident.