Curbside compost on target in Brattleboro

Friday March 8, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Selectboard has agreed to purchase plastic bins for its planned expansion of the curbside compost program, which is still on target to begin next month.

The board voted 4-0 at its meeting this week to purchase 12 and 21 gallon containers which residents involved with the curbside compost program will be able to purchase.

The residents who choose to purchase the bins will cover a portion of the costs with the town subsidizing the rest.

As the town rolls out its townwide, optional, curbside compost program, it is poised to become the first Vermont town to offer the service to its residents.

"We're getting close. It's exciting," Brattleboro Town Manager Barbara Sondag said. "There are still logistics to work out, but we hope to start this in April."

Brattleboro held a pilot curbside program last year with 150 households.

So far, about 450 households have signed on for the new townwide program, which is optional, and open to any Brattleboro residential address.

The 21 gallon bins will cost the town about $28, and the 12 gallon bins, about $17.

Residents involved in the program will asked to pay $10 for the larger ones and $7 for the smaller bins.

The board put $13,400 into the proposed 2014 budget to subsidize the compost bin purchase.

Sondag said the town is still figuring out how many of the bids to order, though she said there will probably be about 500 or so arriving at the end of this month.

Sondag said it will be optional for individuals and families involved in the curbside compost program to purchase the bins, though the town is going to establish some guidelines to keep animals out of the waste, and also to make it easier for the drivers to know which container at the curb has the compost.

Windham Solid Waste Management District Executive Director Bob Spencer said he is getting ready for the increase in compostable materials that will start flowing into the Old Ferry Road waste site next month.

Spencer said the district is still working out its plan and said he will probably experiment with a few different low tech methods before deciding the best way to handle the waste.

During the pilot program about one ton of compostable material was delivered every week.

Spencer when industrial compost is added the amount of waste will be much greater.

Eventually, he said, the district hopes to invest in a large scale system that grinds the material and which can use the methane produced during digestion.

"This is a big change and we want to go slowly to make sure we are making the right decisions for the long term," said Spencer. "Brattleboro is way ahead of the curve on this and a lot of people are watching what we do. We're trying to figure it out. I am pretty confident we will be able to handle this."

For more information on Brattleboro's curbside compost program email questions to

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. You can follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.


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