Curbside Composting Gains Steam in Portland, Maine Curbside Composting Gains Steam in Portland, Maine

Curbside Composting Gains Steam in Portland, Maine

by Aubrey Yee

December 8, 2012

Residents in Portland, Maine, have one less reason to waste food. In August, Sable Sanborn and Tyler Frank started Garbage to Garden, a curbside composting program that already boasts more than 400 subscribers, according to LiveWork Portland.

For $11 a month, subscribers receive a six-gallon bucket for food scraps, yard waste and paper, which is picked up on their regular garbage day. Garbage to Garden takes the full bucket and leaves a clean one in its place. Subscribers can put in volunteer time to get the fee waived as well as have as much free compost as they’d like delivered to their homes.

Garbage to Garden hauls the scraps to a composting facility at Benson Farm in Gorham, Maine. Sanborn and Frank told LiveWork Portland that they hope to buy an anaerobic digester that converts gas from the composting process into energy and start a waste energy company.

Portlanders already recycle 38 percent of their waste, according to ecomaine, which puts them above the national average of 34 percent. This new program will likely boost that rate. And because Portland has a pay-per-bag garbage collection system, residents also have a financial incentive to reduce their volume of “regular” trash.

At Sustainable America we love to see young people like Sanborn and Frank using composting methods to make a difference in our nation’s food waste problem. If Garbage to Garden is successful, we can hope to see more curbside composting organizations and businesses like it across the country.

Aubrey Yee is a writer and editor at Sustainable America, where she works to help people understand the importance of food security and energy independence for America.

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Curbside Composting Gains Steam in Portland, Maine