In November 2021, Town Meeting voted favorably on a warrant article calling on Brookline’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) to research and propose a plan by November 2022 to expand the Town’s mandatory recycling program to include all compostable organic waste.
SWAC formed a volunteer Composting Task Force, comprised of 5 members (3 of whom were members of Brookline Mothers Out Front – see photo above) along with significant support from DPW staff. For a year, the Task Force investigated composting efforts and options in Massachusetts, the capacity of Brookline’s DPW and outside contractors to collect/dispose of compost, as well as existing barriers and strategies to overcome them. Last month, the Compost Task Force submitted its report to SWAC, which unanimously approved it and sent it to Town Meeting.
The report recommends that the Town launch in 2024 a 3-year opt-in “phased approach” curbside compost collection program, which would allow the DPW time to make operational changes to efficiently support the compost program, address resident concerns, and conduct comprehensive education and outreach around composting. The program would be contracted out at first (due to the significant costs associated with Brookline-run collection). It is also recommended that the DPW pilot a compost drop-off bin program to ensure equitable access to composting for all residents in Brookline since the residents of public housing and large apartment complexes do not participate in the Town’s solid waste collection.
Written By Karen Kraut, member of the Zero Waste Team of Brookline Mothers Out Front.
Photo caption: Three members of Brookline Mothers Out Front served on the Composting Task Force. Pictured from left to right: Karen Kraut, Deane Coady and Pam Allara.