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Public Works

Posted on: April 20, 2022

City to Expand Free Community Composting Opportunities

In honor of Earth Day 2022, the City of Portland is happy to announce plans to expand the City's free composting program, adding three more Portland neighborhoods to the program. 

Additionally, the City recently released a Request for Proposals (RFP) from companies interested in providing competitively-priced composting services to Portland residents in exchange for marketing support.

The expansion of Portland’s free composting program builds on a pilot that began in April 2021, with locations in the West End (Clark Street Garden), Libbytown (Libbytown Community Garden), Riverside Recycling, and Bayside (Boyd Street Community Garden). In its first year, this program successfully removed approximately seven tons of food waste from the general waste stream each month. 

Public feedback on the value of this new program has been overwhelmingly positive, as measured in a recent survey conducted by the City of Portland’s Sustainability Office. The majority of respondents indicated they use a compost site multiple times each month, and that they rarely if ever found the carts to be full or litter on the ground.

As part of the 2022 program expansion, new sites will be located at the Payson Park Garden, Riverton Community Garden, and Brentwood Farms Community Garden  in Deering Center. The new locations were recommended by residents who participated in the survey. In response to concerns shared by abutting residents, the Clark Street Garden site will be relocated to an as-of-yet undetermined location.

“Food waste and organic material make up about 37% of the waste the City collects from residents each week. Providing a free and convenient way for people to compost is an important step toward achieving our goal to be a zero waste city by 2050,” noted Troy Moon, Sustainability Director. “This is important because research indicates that reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reduce carbon emissions. That’s why we encourage people to only buy food they can eat or preserve before it spoils and to compost their food scraps.”

The City’s portfolio of sustainability programs has ramped up significantly since 2019, when the City Council adopted One Climate Future and committed to aggressive action to end carbon emissions. Examples include:  

Lowering the cost of electrification for property owners and tenants
In Portland, about 60% of our CO2 emissions come from buildings that have oil and gas furnaces and water heaters. The City has partnered with Maine’s leading solar provider, ReVision Energy, to create Electrify Everything! This program can help people fully electrify their homes using renewable energy and energy efficient electric appliances like air source heat pumps and hot water heat pumps. Electrification will reduce a home’s carbon footprint and save homeowners money on heating and cooling. Learn more

Establishing new EV charging stations
Transportation accounts for about 30% of Portland’s carbon emissions. To encourage residents to switch to electric vehicles the City has partnered with EVgo to install eight parking stalls with DC fast charging and an additional forty four Level 2 charging stations. EVgo will install fast chargers this year in the parking lot at the corner of Spring Street and High Street and on Commercial Street, near the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The City will select locations for the Level 2 chargers in neighborhoods with a large number of multi-family buildings. That way, residents without the ability to charge at home will be able to charge an EV close to where they live. Learn more

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