Composting is the practice of turning your food scraps and organic waste into nutrient-rich soil, which can then be sold or used for gardening or farming. Here are some resources on composting in Boston:

Leaf and Yard Waste: Curbside Pickup

Boston Public Works Department collects and composts residents’ leaf and yard waste. Collection starts April 1 to the first week in December, and occurs at 7:00 AM on your recycling day. Download the flyer here for more information.

Do’s and Don’ts of Collection


  • Place leaves and yard debris in large paper leaf bags or open barrels labeled “yard waste”.
  • Tie branches with string, 3′ maximum length.
  • Place barrels, bags and branches on the curb by 7:00 AM on your Recycling Day.
  • Request Yard Waste stickers for barrels by calling 617-635-4500 or placing an online service request (up to 2 stickers available per household).


  • Use plastic bags; they will not be collected.
  • Place branches in barrels.


  • If you have 2 recycling days per week, COLLECTION IS ON THE FIRST RECYCLING DAY of the week
  • Leaf and yard waste WILL NOT BE COLLECTED curbside on non-collection weeks
  • BACKYARD COMPOST BINS & KITCHEN-SCRAP BUCKETS @ DISCOUNTED PRICE - Boston Building Resources, 100 Terrace Street Mission Hill, Roxbury 617-442-2262 MON-SAT 9am-3pm

Residential Food Waste: Project Oscar, Community Composting

"Community composting" is available for people to drop off their food scraps at a communal compost container called Project Oscar. This is Boston's first 24-hour community compost program. Read more about the project here. 


For more information about Project Oscar and how to participate, visit www.cityofboston.gov/food/compost.asp. You may also email Oscar@boston.gov or call 617-635-3850!

Backyard Composting

Turn your yard waste and food scraps into compost right in your backyard! Not only will you be diverting waste from the landfill, but you’ll be creating a valuable fertilizer for your garden.

The City of Boston sells large, outdoor compost bins at a discounted rate of $50, which is half the suggested retail value. Within a year, you can turn your yard and food waste into highly nutrient-rich compost. The City also offers kitchen scraps buckets for $10.

Available for purchase at the Boston Building Resources, 100 Terrace Street, Mission Hill, 617-442-2262, Extension 1.

Compost Bin $58 (nearly half the suggested retail price) 
You can fill a compost bin with 12 bags of leaves. Bin size is adjustable. Within a year, your yard waste  composts into 200 lbs of highly nutritious dirt.

Kitchen Scrap Bucket $10 
Kitchen scrap bucket has a handle and lid and holds 7 liters. It's a clean and convenient way to collect food scraps for your compost bin.

Residential Food Waste: Use Your Garbage Disposal

Why should you send your food waste down the garbage disposal? It’s all because of those giant egg-like structures at the City’s waste-water treatment facility on Deer Island, which is operated by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The eggs actually mimic the stomach’s natural digestion process, in a process called “anaerobic digestion.” The process produces methane that is then used to heat and power the facility.  This is enough renewable energy to power 26% of the facility, saving the MWRA approximately $15 million in fuel oil costs and $2.8 million in electricity savings annually. So the more food you send through your garbage disposal, the more renewable energy you can help create! 

Indoor Composting

No space in the yard for compost? No problem! Vermi-composting and stealth composting are two great ways to compost indoors. Both are clean, odor free, and will turn your food waste into plant food. Learn more by clicking on the provided links.

Vermi-Composting: One Bin Method

Vermi-Composting: Two Bin Method

Stealth Composting

Residential Food Waste: Private Service

Outsource your composting to a private business that will take care of everything for you. Below are businesses that serve the Boston area:

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