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Black Earth Compost, a local hauler and compost company, picks up the food waste curbside in their own collection truck.
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Household organics (food scraps, meat, bones, etc.) are collected by the resident in a provided cart and picked up by a special truck on Wednesdays. Residents pay less than $2 per week to participate in this program. Organics collected are composted instead of incinerated with the trash and go to a commercial composting facility in Ipswich, where they are transformed into finished compost.
The Ipswich Waste Reduction Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the Department of Public Works Office and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, started this curbside food waste collection pilot in Fall 2011.
The fee to participate in this program is $95 per year for residents. The Department of Public Works pays an additional $17 and provides a free collection cart, with financial assistance from MassDEP.
All Ipswich residents with town trash pickup can participate, but residents with private trash may be eligible as well. You can join at any time by signing up online at Black Earth Compost. Now is a great time to join!
Organics are materials that break down naturally and can be turned into compost. Composting organics diverts them from incinerators or landfills, which is costly. The town currently pays $76.85 per ton to dispose of its trash, and diverting organics saves the town approximately 275 tons per year.
There are so many organics and other items that you can put in your composting cart!
The list below includes examples of items that are not accepted. Check here for a complete list.
Organics comprise to 40% of household waste! Organics collection is one of the major strategies to further reduce our waste and our trash costs. It also reduces our environmental impact and turns the organics into valuable finished compost. This private-pay collection pilot also provides us with useful information to enhance our other diversion efforts (recycling and leaf composting). We track how much food waste and other organics are diverted from the trash, and we hope to build support for townwide collection.
The fee covers organics pickup at your curb, transportation to the composting facility, composting the food waste, and 50 gallons of finished compost twice per year. You receive a free compost cart upon signup.
Payment is due when you sign up for the program online at Black Earth Compost. If you prefer to sign up by check, you may do so by bringing $95 cash or a check made to Town of Ipswich.
Pick up your cart at the DPW office at town hall (2nd floor).
No! Plastic bags are a contaminant and can turn the town’s entire load of compostable material into trash if bags are in the cart. Use BPI-certified compostable bags.
Unfortunately, no. You could compost in your backyard for now and then sign up in the spring when you return.
Black Earth Compost brings the organics to Agresource in Ipswich to be composted. Agresource is permitted by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to accept food waste for composting.
Only tableware and bags labeled BPI-Certified Compostable can be placed in your cart. Items marked biodegradable are not allowed. Accepted items include Bag to Earth paper bags, #7 PLA made from corn (cups, straws, lids), and plates, bowls, containers and utensils made from sugarcane.
You may put out up to four paper leaf bags of additional organics with your cart each week. Remember, no leaves or branches!
Large paper lawn bags (up to four) can be used for overflow organics, lawn clippings, and yard waste ONLY. Leaves and branches must be brought to the Transfer Station.
The collection trucks do not have compactors and leaves would quickly fill up the collection truck, increasing trips to the compost facility and raising our costs.
The town offers curbside leaf pickup in November each year (the week before Thanksgiving, on your regular trash day). Additionally, you can drop off your leaf and yard waste year-round at the Transfer Station at 180 Town Farm Road.
Only bentonite-free kitty litter is accepted. All natural animal bedding with waste (poop) is acceptable.
Dog waste invites plastic bags, which can contaminate an entire load. Please be sure to place dog waste in a plastic bag and then in your trash.
House plants, flowers, floral trimmings, grass clippings, weeds and other yard clippings are all accepted but need to be in a paper leaf bag. Remember, no leaves, stumps or branches!
Lobster, crab, oyster and clam shells are allowed. Be sure to remove elastic bands.
Yes, you may continue your backyard composting. We encourage you to also participate in the curbside program, because we accept additional items you can’t compost in your backyard (such as meat, fish products, food-soiled paper, pizza boxes, bentonite-free kitty litter and much more).
At this time, the curbside composting program is optional for residents.
No. We cannot accept any kind of diapers or other biodegradable items.
Composting time, start to finish, is about a year.
Ipswich currently diverts an average of 5.5 tons of organic waste per week. More participants means more organic waste diverted and lower trash costs.
You can pick up your compost at the Transfer Station at the end of Town Farm Road. This compost is only for participants in this program, and you are allowed to take 50 gallons (in your containers). Shovels are provided at the compost pile. Please do not fill up a truck bed!
The program removes more than 277 tons of organic waste per year from the trash stream, reducing the cost to dispose of it. Ipswich currently pays $76.85 per ton to incinerate its trash at Wheelabrator in North Andover, so composting benefits the town both financially and environmentally.