- Boise's Public Works Department is presenting a plan for citywide food and yard waste collection that could be operational by next March. Material would be composted in windrows at a city-owned farm.
- Preliminary estimates show the program costing $9.5 million to start and $2.1 million per year for operations after that. Most homeowners would pay an additional $3.40 per month for a 95-gallon compost cart, raising their monthly collection bill to $17.77.
- The program will require approval from the Boise City Council and state Department of Environmental Quality, among other agencies. The city's franchise agreement with Republic Services would also have to be renewed.
Like many other cities — New York, San Francisco, and Seattle to name a few — Boise is hoping to save money by reducing the amount of organic waste sent to landfills. The city has been considering a program since 2014, and a study from that year found 30% of the waste going to the local Ada County Landfill was organic. Food and yard waste makes up approximately 46% of waste collection within the city.
Even if the program receives all necessary approvals, its timeline is still ambitious. Republic will have to add 15 collection trucks to the local fleet and an estimated 73,000 carts will have to be distributed. The city's population of more than 214,000 people will also have to be educated on how and why to start sorting their organics.
If all goes according to plan, however, the city's program looks promising. Unlike some cities which have faced disposal challenges for organic waste, Boise can take the material 20 miles south to its farm. The city plans to sell half of the finished compost and use the rest for its own needs. As long as residents can provide the operation with a steady supply, this could be a positive step toward a closed-loop system.