NAHANT — In the coming weeks, the town will launch a pilot program offering residents who choose to compost their organic waste a $20 trash-bill rebate and a reimbursement of up to $260 on compost starter kits.
Town Administrator Tony Barletta announced the incentive program Wednesday evening at a Board of Selectmen meeting. He said a national spike in curbside waste-removal costs reared its head in Nahant, causing an annual curb-collection cost increase of 4%.
By partnering with the compost collection, processing, and reuse company Black Earth Compost, Barletta said the town can reduce waste-stream volumes, saving both Nahant and its residents money on trash collection.
“This year, we need to raise about $687,000 in trash funds. Last year, the residential rate was around $380. And right now, we’re estimating it to be closer to about $400,” Barletta said. “We’ve spent a lot of time determining how to reduce tonnage in the waste stream and one of the best ways to do that is to incentivize composting.”
Approximately 70 Nahant residents currently compost with Black Earth. If another 30 residents sign up, Barletta said the resulting decrease in waste tonnage, or weight in tons, is estimated to reduce the average household’s trash bill by 30%.
Barletta added that by composting more organic materials, such as food products, the town would reduce the frequency of wild animals entering people’s trash bins.
“By pulling food waste, which is the heaviest part of what you put out at the curb, it’s going to provide a benefit in reduction of tonnage, which is in part how we’re billed,” Barletta said. “With wildlife concerns in the town, removing that food source out of the waste stream would help us with that effort as well.”
Through the incentive program, the town will reimburse residents for their purchase of a Black Earth Compost package, which includes a compost bin, compostable waste bags, and weekly curbside compost collection.
Board Chairman Mark Cullinan said the program will be a “great opportunity” for residents to help the environment and save money on trash collection for both themselves and the town.
“These are all great incentives for people to get involved in,” Cullinan said. “The environmental benefits, (mitigation of) wildlife issues in terms of animals getting into your trash in the middle of the night, and for our wastewater collection system since we’re not disposing 35 pounds a week of garbage.”
The town is working with Black Earth, Safer Waters in Massachusetts, and the Commonwealth’s Department of Environmental Protection to formally launch the program in a newsletter in the next few weeks.