Written by Connor Sheldon, Career Track MBA 1st Yr
Last week, the City of Boise Public Works Department proposed a composting program that would change how Boise collects trash. It would cost Boise residents $3.40/month and include weekly pick-up of organic material that can be composted. Organic material essentially includes “anything that was alive,” such as tree trimmings and kitchen scraps. From pick-up, the compostable material would be taken to a local compost facility and ground into a soil inoculant. The first batch of compost from this program would be ready for use in approximately 100 days.
The addition of composting to Boise’s popular Curb It composting program holds great opportunity and also presents some barriers. One barrier revolves around some Boise residents who are already active composters and feel the cost for participating in this program is not beneficial for them. Yet other current composters, as well as those not yet composting, understand the potential the program has to positively impact the community. The proposed composting program is well positioned to help Boise residents save time (the city takes care of the majority of the composting process) and space (organic material would not take up space in residential yards), encouraging active participation.
At this point in time, organic material from single family residences makes up 46% of local landfills. Composting would reduce the size of the Ada County Landfill by diverting organic material to Boise’s Twenty-Mile South Farm. Compost generated by this program could be used in various city projects (from parks to urban gardens) and sold to generate revenue for the program.
The Curb It composting program aligns with the LIV Boise vision to make Boise, Idaho the most livable city in the country. LIV Boise focuses “on sustainable policies, practices and partnerships” to “promote livability across three strategic focus areas: Lasting Environments, Innovative Enterprises and Vibrant Communities.” For the cost of a gallon of milk each month, Boise residents could help to foster a healthy environment to keep our community vibrant. Composting can help make Boise the most livable city in the country; the pursuit of this goal should be an individual and community-wide effort.