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Curbside Compost Bins Rolling Toward Boise Households

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An unused economy parking lot near the Boise Airport was packed Monday morning—but not with cars. Instead, the lot was filled with more than 70,000 white trash bins with green lids for a new curbside compost program in Boise, which has been more than a year in the making. The compost bins, which look similar to trash and recycling bins, will start showing up in neighborhoods across the city over the next six weeks.

“People had the opportunity to opt out, but the vast majority stayed with it,” said Colin Hickman, spokesman for the Boise Public Works Department.

City officials said educating the public will be key to understanding what should and shouldn’t be placed into the compost bins, and clear instructions will be on the lid of every bin. Items allowed in compost bins include: leaves, grass clippings, fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells and pine cones. Items not allowed include dairy, oils, grease, pet waste, plastic, bread, meat, fish and bones.

Items allowed in compost bins include, for example, leaves, grass clippings, fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells and pine cones. - ELIZABETH FINDLEY
  • Elizabeth Findley
  • Items allowed in compost bins include, for example, leaves, grass clippings, fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells and pine cones.
“We’re producing a product from the landfill and turning it into something that will enhance the community and will be used locally,” said Dave Fisher, general manager for Republic Services, the company that manages trash, recycling and now compost collection for Boise, Caldwell, Eagle, Meridian, Middleton, Mountain Home, Nampa and Star.

Haley Falconer, environmental program manager for the Public Works Department, said the most important element of the program is diverting tons of organic waste away from the landfill.

“Instead of the usual leaf pick-up in the fall, we want people to put their leaves in compost bins,” Falconer said. “This is an opportunity for every single household to not just help the environment, but the community.”

After processing at city-owned Twenty Mile South Farm, compost will be free for Boise residents. City officials hope to have make it available in about 100 days.

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