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Boise Curbside Compost Plan Rolling Toward Reality

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GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
Bins for collecting organic waste could be coming to a curbside near you, and sooner than you might think. If a revised franchise agreement with Republic Services is approved by the city of Boise in the next several weeks, a public outreach program will be launched before the end of the year and organic collection carts may roll out to Boise households by June 2017.

City officials began looking in March for a solution to the tons of organic material that end up in the Ada County Landfill. According to a recent trash "census," more than 53,000 tons of food waste are sent to the landfill each year. Since Boise already has a high participation rate recycling—nearly 97 percent—Boise officials thought the time was ripe for a change.

Organic waste makes up more than 45 percent of all waste delivered to the landfill from Boise homes. Each person in Boise is responsible for approximately 390 pounds of organic materials in the dump. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Organic waste makes up more than 45 percent of all waste delivered to the landfill from Boise homes. Each person in Boise is responsible for approximately 390 pounds of organic materials in the dump.
During an Oct. 25 presentation to the Boise City Council, city staff outlined several scenarios in which Boise citizens could actually receive a discount if they elect to participate in organic sorting and curbside collection.

Currently, a household with one bin for trash and another for recycling (as the overwhelming majority of Boiseans do) pays about $15.24 per month.

The proposal would raise the basic rate in June 2017 for trash/recycling to $23.64 (at the time that the citywide composting program is launched).

But if a household was to add a composting bin and participate in the curbside pickup of organics, that household would receive a $5 per month discount, bringing down the monthly bill to $18.64. 

Additionally, city staff said they're proposing that Boiseans who are already sorting of organics from the trash in order to create their own composting would also be eligible for a $5 per month discount if they complete a affidavit/waiver application.

City officials quizzed Public Works staff about some other options, including the possibility of giving households the choice of reducing the size of their current trash and/or recycling bins to make room for a third organic bin. City staff said smaller trash bins might also trigger a discount to some homeowners' bills.

"We expect to start talking to neighborhood associations across the city beginning in the next few weeks," said Steve Burgos, city of Boise environmental manager. "If all goes as planned, the rate adjustments could go into effect next spring and we could deliver carts and begin the composting program by next June."