Photo by Kelly Walters

Concord seeks to turn food waste into ‘black gold’

By Kelly Walters - Correspondent
November 15, 2022

What’s left to recycle after separating out your plastics, glass, metals, and paper?

How about food waste?

Concord residents are putting their food waste to use this year through the town’s Community Compost Drop Off Pilot program. Launched on February 1st, the program allows residents to compost their kitchen scraps for free in community bins at two locations: 498 Walden St., and 55 Church St.

Developing new programs to divert waste away from landfills through reuse, recycling and composting is just one step in Sustainable Concord’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan, which outlines actions the town can take in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Transportation and Mobility Planner Erin Stevens, who currently manages the program, explained that food waste contributes significantly to the weight and space taken up by trash in landfills, whereas the composting process turns that material into something useful.

“[Compost] is often called ‘black gold’ or ‘dirt gold’ because it’s so rich in nutrients,” said Stevens. Mature compost can be used as fertilizer to create healthy soil for gardening and agriculture, according to the National Resource Defense Council website

Stevens said there has been a high level of interest in expanding existing composting programs in Concord for a while. Residents can compost yard waste through Concord Public Works, but those who wished to compost food scraps had to do so in their backyards or sign up for private composting services for a fee prior to February.

“Our hope is to extend the pilot for another year to continue on this track. If it continues to grow and expand we might make it a more permanent program or we might see year by year how it’s going. So far the response we’ve gotten has been positive and we want to keep that momentum going,” she said.

Residents who wish to participate in the program must register online and test their knowledge of what materials can be composted prior to accessing the bins. More information and instructions to register are available at Food Waste Drop Off Pilot | Concord, MA.