Compost Food Waste at the Melrose Farmers Market

At the Harvest Market on November 18 at Memorial Hall, Melrose residents will be able to drop off food scrap generated in their homes in a bin to be provided by Black Earth Compost, a Massachusetts-based composting services company. This offering, sponsored by the Melrose Recycling Committee (MRC) in collaboration with the Melrose Farmers’ Market, provides residents with an opportunity to divert food waste from their normal trash, and—for those who are already backyard composting—an opportunity to divert food scrap that shouldn’t go into the backyard composter.

Food waste constitutes a major portion of our weekly waste generation—upwards of 30%, according to estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others. Food waste is also heavy, adding to waste disposal costs for the City of Melrose, which is charged by the ton for waste disposal services. Getting food scrap out of the waste stream not only saves money for Melrose, it helps the environment by putting that waste to good use, in the production of compost.

Easy home storage

For those residents who already compost in their backyards, the offering at the Harvest Market will allow you to dispose of items like dairy products, bones, meat, seafood, and animal greases and fats, which shouldn’t go into backyard composters because of the animal attraction problem. Food scrap can be collected in large yogurt containers or other covered plastic containers, paper bags, plastic bags, and milk cartons. To reduce odors, store these containers in the freezer or refrigerator. A layer of shredded newspaper at the bottom of your storage container also helps.

Keep in mind that, when you drop off the food scrap at the Harvest Market, you must empty the container and reuse it or dispose of it in some other way. Plastic bags can be cleaned and brought to the plastic bag recycling bins at retailers like Shaw’s and Whole Foods. Milk cartons and yogurt containers can be rinsed and put in your curbside recycling bin. Paper bags are compostable.

Consider curbside composting!

The Harvest Market will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 18, at Memorial Hall on 590 Main Street in Melrose. Black Earth will remove the food scrap after the event and bring it to its facility in Manchester by the Sea, where it turns food waste into a compost product.

Black Earth also provides curbside composting pickup services in several communities, and it is looking for expressions of interest from Melrose residents so that it can build up the collection route densities that can keep costs down. MRC volunteers will be able to provide more information about this service at the Harvest Market and will take names and contact information from people who are interested. Alternatively, contact MRC through its website or the company directly at Here’s a link to a video explaining the service:

Celebrating its 25th season, the Melrose Farmers’ Market provides all Melrose-area residents with the opportunity to buy and learn about nutritious, locally grown and produced foods. The market promotes local farms, organizations and businesses and builds community while contributing to a sustainable future.


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