The Life of Compost

The Life of Compost


One of our customers recently wrote a blog post about our compost service that was based on a misunderstanding. We were accused of sending the food scraps to landfill, from the Compost service we provide. We want to explain more about our Compost service, and encourage you to reach out to us directly with your questions.

1. Yes We Compost

We started our compost service in 2007. We began with a strong partnership with the City of Cambridge, to divert food scraps from schools and businesses in the City of Cambridge.

We handle 8,000 tons per year of material for Composting, over 35 tons per day from over 250 universities, restaurants, breweries, and institutions in the Boston area. We transport their food scraps to local farms for composting.

We are the chosen partner with the City of Cambridge to collect the compost from the City’€™s first residential composting program. This includes 5-7 tons each week from over 1,400 homes in Cambridge. We take the food scraps collected from this program to Rocky Hill Farm in Saugus, where they compost the material.


2. Challenges with Compostable Disposable Dishware

In our industry, we find it increasingly challenging to find a processing outlet for the compostable dishware, utensils, and one-time use compostable cups.

BioCycle Magazine (a revered industry publication) has highlighted and written about the challenges with many of the compostable dishware products on the market. The consumer market for these items advanced far faster than the end-of-life processing outlets. Farm-based composting facility operators have a limited tolerance for the compostable dishware, preferring food scraps.

Front-Of-House and Back-Of-House

In 2011, we changed our services to offer a €Front-Of-House € composting option for the compostable dishware. WeCare Environmental is the only local commercial facility that would process the compostable dishware mixed with organics. They are what we call an Industrial Compost Facility.

This processing outlet is no longer a viable solution. We decided to distance ourselves from this facility because of their operational inconsistencies. That means, all of the food waste we manage for our customers right now must be taken to local farms. So ensuring good quality of the food scraps we collect is imperative.

On the West coast, and in many cities nation-wide, compost haulers and processors no longer accept the compostable disposable dishware items in their compost stream. For example, Portland Oregon just banned all non-food items for composting. READ MORE.

€œBack-Of-House € compost refers to all of the food scraps that are collected from the preparation of food (onion skins, potato peelings, bones, egg shells), and left-over uneaten food. This is what we refer to as €œFood Only € composting. ALL of the food waste material from the €œBack-of-House€ programs we collect goes to local farms

3. We can’€™t compost trash Contamination

€œFront-Of-House € programs aren’€™t just a challenge because of the compostable dishware. They tend to attract non-compostable trash items. These programs rely on the public to do the right thing when using a compost bin in a public area. People that aren’€™t familiar with a compost program may make a mistake€“ and throw away a non-compostable cup in the compost, if it looks similar to the compostable cup.

We cannot compost trash. Plastic bags, plastic gloves, plastic wrap, plastic utensils, plastic cups. When we see these items, it’€™s the expectation that our drivers let us know, so we can talk with our customers and help them clean up.

If we go to a farm-based composting facility with too much contamination, our truck gets re-loaded, and we have to dump the whole load as trash. And that’€™s expensive. This is why we’€™re focused on quality control with our compost customers.

When a compost customer has a cart that is heavily contaminated, that cart of material needs to go to the trash, UNTIL it can be cleaned up and managed well.

Photos of some of the contaminated compost we’ve received 



4. Summer 2016 changes Organics Processing Center

At the end of this summer, a new Organics Processing Center will open at our facility in Charlestown, MA. We will accept Food-Only at this organics center. We will no longer be able to process compostable dishware/single-use service ware for composting€“ the items will be screened out.

The food scraps WILL all still be processed€“ and will be used for energy production via anaerobic digestion. The remaining material can be used as a fertilizer.

We are talking with our customers about these changes. We strive together towards more sustainable and responsible organics processing.

5. Best Practices

Durables / Re-Usables

A best practice we see in our industry to address the challenge of disposables is to use durable service-ware€“ washable cutlery that can be reused. We recognize the challenge of re-usables in fast-paced food service environments, yet see that changes to use durable utensils and food-service containers drives significant waste reduction.

Compostable Bags & Cleaning Carts €œHardware €

Compost programs need a good balance of €œhardware € €“ proper carts and collection procedures for the food scraps €“ and €œsoftware” €“ education and continuous training.

We encourage compost customers to use compostable bags in their programs. Bags must be certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute. See approved bags HERE.

Washing carts frequently also keeps the compost program clean, and reduces pest activity.

Education & Training – “Software”

At the start of our compost programs, we teach managers and food preparation employees the €œDo’s€ and €œDon’€™ts€ of composting. We are available to answer questions on an ongoing basis. The best compost programs are ones where internal leaders drive training, communication, and proper separation of the food scraps.

We send our customers feedback when our drivers report that they see trash contamination in the compost carts. This is an important aspect of having an effective relationship-based compost service.

We can guide you through the process to continue compost / organics processing for your Food-Only waste, and make a responsible choice about whether you continue to use compostable dishware.

Please contact me directly to talk about our composting & organics processing practices.

Thank you for your continued commitments to responsible materials management.

Adam Mitchell

& the Save That Stuff team


Local Food Trade Show: March 10th

News From BLF Header
Local Specialty Crop Trade Show
& Local Food Trade Show
Connecting Wholesale Buyers and Producers of Local Food

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

8:15AM – 1:30PM
Northeastern University
Boston, MA
The SBN Local Food Trade Shows are organized by the SBN of Massachusetts in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MassGrown) to connect local specialty crop growers and restaurants. This event will feature open floor trading between wholesale buyers and producers of local food. It will also include a series of morning and afternoon workshops, addressing best practices and innovative ways of local trading between producers and buyers of local food. Topics include case studies, Food Hubs, working with the “middle man,” sales strategies, marketing, and more.
Vendor Spots are Filling Up!
Due to the expansion of our program, we are offering two trade shows this year, taking place the same time in the same location. Each trade show will feature different type of exhibitors. Please register below (note that there are 3 different applications). Click to register!
  Session 1 Workshops (8:15AM – 9:30AM)
Forging Innovative Trade Relationships

This workshop will highlight two stories of trade relationships between producers and buyers of local food that work.


A Vision for Local Food in New England – How can we make it happen!

Introduce 50 by 60 New England Food Vision, explore the role of local trade and sourcing in achieving it, and identify leverage points for advancing it.

The ‘Labeling Game’: Why does it matter?

Panel to discuss the various food labels among Organic, GMO, Fair trade, B Corporation Certification and more!


Session 2 Workshops (11:00AM – 12:15PM)

Food Hubs: Key Players in Growing Our Local Food System

The workshop features 4 food hubs including Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Red’s Best, Western Mass Food Processing Center & FairAcre Traders
Getting In and Staying In

Marketing strategies and tools to get your products into food services/stores and sell successfully once they’re in


Working with the “Middleman”

Panel to discuss Distribution, Aggregation, Wholesalers, Food processing Centers.


Practical Advice for Successful Selling: How to move from point A to point B

This workshop is designed for local farms, producers, distributors, and other local businesses that offer healthy and delicious food choices and want to increase their sales volume.


A privately owned company, Costa is a produce and specialty foods purveyor serving fine dining establishments throughout New England. Costa offers fresh products and works closely with local farmers and producers to provide a variety of local artisan items. Costa is a sustainable business leader certified by the SBN of MA and is a recipient of the Boston Green Business Award. For more information, visit today!
Boston Organics
Boston Organics delivers certified organic groceries throughout the Boston area. The company provides access to organic produce and supports local farms, businesses, and fair-trade practices. In 2014, Boston Organics paid over $700,000 to Northeast growers, composted 37,000 pounds of produce, and donated over 70,000 pounds of organic produce. Boston Organics is a member of the SBN of MA and a certified B Corporation.
For more event information, please visit our website, or contact Maddie Phadke at or call (617) 395-0250.
If you are interested in volunteering and assisting with our trade shows between 7:00AM-3PM on March 10th, apply today at here.

Winter Advisory | Adviso para Invierno




Help us keep your service on schedule!


  • Gated container areas must be cleared of snow & ice so gates can be opened completely for truck access
  • Paths & walkways must to be cleared for containers that need to be pushed to the truck
  • In the event of a snow emergency, we will service your location as soon as possible after the streets re-open.

We will make every effort to provide service in a safe and professional manner. Please remember it is your responsibility to ensure our access to the container(s).

If it is necessary for us to make a return trip to service a blocked container, an additional “go back” charge may apply.

Thank you for your help!




Por favor, ayudanos a proveer un servicio excelente!


  • Areas de los contenedores que tienen puerta enfrente (para basura y reciclaje) deben ser limpiadas, para que los choferes puedan abrir las puertas completamente.
  • El camino alrededor el area de basura y reciclaje deben ser limpiado de hielo y nieve para que los manajadores pueden subir los contenedores al camion.

Hacemos todo possible para que el servicio este hecho en una manera segura y professional. Por favor, recuerde que es su responsibilidad que tengamos acceso a los contenedores.

Si es necesario que nosotros a hagamos un viaje de regresar para completer el servicio de un contenedor bloqueado, posiblemente aplicaremos un cargo adicional.

Gracias para su ayuda!

Cambridge Local First – Local independents partner with Save That Stuff


1369 Coffee House

1369 has been a long-time customer, and a leader in comprehensive food waste diversion in Cambridge. They’ve been separating their coffee grounds and food waste with us, and diverting all single stream recyclables AWAY from the landfill. Starting in February, they will be a full-service partner, and we’re excited to help them manage all materials.

Accomplishments with Save That Stuff:

 In 2014, 1369 diverted over 25 TONS of food waste and coffee grounds away from the landfill. That’s over 50,000 lbs. They set a precedent for Zero Waste coffee shops in Cambridge.



In January of 1993, the 1369 Coffee House opened at 1369 Cambridge Street, in Cambridge’s Inman Square. The site was the former home of the 1369 Jazz Club, a well known local bar and music venue. In June 1994 we opened a second store in nearby Central Square.

From the beginning, we envisioned 1369 as more than just a place to get coffee. We offer the very best coffees and teas available. We strive to create a comfortable, inviting atmosphere and to be an integral part of the community. Many friendships, including several marriages, have developed at 1369. Several books and many theses have been written at our tables. We take pride in being a good neighbor and local gathering place. We are dedicated to maintaining this feeling.

We have been fortunate to be the recipient of many awards and accolades. We continue to pursue our goals in an effort to achieve excellence in all we do. We intend to survive the onslaught of chains and to endure long into the future. We will continue our commitment to our neighborhood and community.

Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage


Accomplishments with Save That Stuff:

 We (Save That Stuff) started managing Mr. Bartley’s trash and recycling at the beginning of 2015. In the first month, they have already eliminated 2 trash pickups a week, and increased their cardboard recycling, saving them money and supporting their business’ push towards Zero Waste and more diversion. They have been great to work with, and the burgers aren’t bad either!



“In 1960, Joe and Joan Bartley took over the Harvard Spa, a small convenience store facing Harvard Yard. The plan was simple: perfect the hamburger, the quintessential American sandwich. For years, a small grill accompanied greeting cards and paper goods. As word travelled, the menu took off, and Mr. and Mrs. Bartley’s Burger Cottage became the Harvard Square institution of today.

A perennial recipient of “Best of Boston” awards from The Boston Globe, The Improper Bostonian, and Boston Magazine, the food has been praised by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, and The Food Network. The laundry list of celebrity customers and fans includes Johnny Cash, Jaqueline Onasis, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bill Belichick, Al Pacino, Adam Sandler, Tom Werner, and Katie Couric.

Three generations of the Bartley family have been serving perfect hamburgers for over 48 years. Customers line up down the block each day at lunch for a coveted seat, devouring our homemade burgers, onion rings, sweet potato fries, frappes, and lime rickeys. We serve the freshest beef imaginable and cook it perfectly to order. No one can compete with us in volume of hamburger prepared, so we’re able to be incredibly demanding of our suppliers. Our perfect onion rings are battered and fried to order.

Bartley’s has a fast-paced, wacky atmosphere. Our dining room looks like a dorm room, filled with posters, bumper stickers, and funny signs. In the summer months, a small outdoor café gives diners the chance to people-watch in the sun. Future husbands and wives have met across our signature central table for single diners.

In a time when burger chains frantically try to expand across the country and world with frozen beef and uniform spaces, Bartley’s has a simple aim: one perfect restaurant. After 50 years of honing their menu and ingredients, The Bartley Family has the ability and experience to consistently offer quality the chains simply cannot. Bartley’s didn’t invent the hamburger. We just perfected it.” See More.

Artists In Residence at Save That Stuff & Open House

The Myth Makers

Donna Dodson & Andy Moerlein aka The Myth Makers, are contracted to build 5 monumental public art sculptures that will be transported to the Garment District in NYC Sat Jan 3rd. The installation of all 5 sculptures is called Avian Avatars, and will be on view through April 24th 2015. These works of art are built from saplings that reference nature and evoke that natural world. Each one incorporates found objects that create a continuity amongst the 5 sculptures. The found objects locate the pieces in the urban environment and invite a dialogue with the people of NYC i.e. an urban audience. The Myth Makers are excited to work as Artists in Residence courtesy of Save That Stuff, Inc. in Charlestown to bring these sculptures to life. Dodson and Moerlein will be building the sculptures on site, in Save That Stuff’s CHaRM (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials) warehouse in Charlestown.
Avian Avatars are built from renewable and recycled resources. The saplings are harvested in the forest understory from stump regrowth.  The hardwood timber industry leaves abundant stumps that swiftly send up suckers towards the sunlit gaps. These fragile slender saplings are selectively thinned by the Myth Makers, allowing more robust trees to flourish. Tied together with wire ties, the structure of these sculptures has the strength and massive presence of tree trunks, but the lightness and transparency of a sapling thicket.

The collaboration between Moerlein and Dodson is born from a mutual love of the wild. Moerlein takes inspiration from events in the natural world that leave visual marks which strike a narrative chord in the artist. Dodson takes inspiration from the mysterious nature of animals that spark her imagination. Although monumental in scale, these ephemeral works are temporary in nature. Made from natural materials, they are site specific, and respond to their local audience. Meaning to only last 3-5 years, they appear, fade, and disappear, adding a chapter to the life stories in their communities.

Save That Stuff, Inc. is excited to have the Myth Makers at our CHaRM center, as they lend a new take on material reuse. Dodson and Morlein are a self-sufficent duo, and it has been a pleasure intersecting with them on the weekends and seeing the Avian Avatars take shape. As they work and weave with the saplings, the material literally takes on a new life.

Though this is an unusual partnership for a recycling company, we support new and creative routes to thinking about the materials we encounter in the everyday, and helping a public audience to engage with their surroundings, the natural environment, and recycled & reused materials.

Open House
December 20th.
Save That Stuff, Down East Cider, Charlestown Navy Yard,  and others!
M.Makers Poised

Small Business Saturday Nov. 29th – Choose Local & Independent All Year!

Bigger isn’t always better! – Choose small, local & independent


November 29th is Small Business Saturday.

In celebration, we invite you to save your stuff with Save That Stuff!

Choose to contract with a local & independent recycling & waste hauler!

Save That Stuff, Inc.
One Goal. Zero Waste.

MORE materials we collect

Don’t just choose local and independent on Small Business Saturday.
Shop Small All Year!

Schedule a FREE site evaluation & $25 off your first pickup
Find out more –

STS color logo USE

Think local & independent first
Buy local & independent when you can
Save That Stuff – local & independent since 1990

Top Ten reasons to Think Local – Buy Local – Be Local

  1. Buy Local — Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.
  2. Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
  3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we acheter viagra eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place.
  4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
  5. Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
  6. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
  7. Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
  8. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
  9. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
  10. Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.



Hyper Local Craft Brewfest

Local Craft Brewfest 

5th Annual
– Sustainable Business Network - 

Come connect 19+ local brewers and ciders, 10+ local distillers, and local eateries that are as passionate about local food as you are. Join us for theSustainable Business Network of Massachusetts‘ (SBN) 5th Annual Local Craft Brewfest at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse, 11/21/2014 located in Fort Point on the Boston waterfront. Come taste, explore, socialize, and meet the people behind the brews. The event will showcase the most distilleries we’ve ever had–over 30 different local spirit tastings including vodka, rum, whiskey, and gin plus more than 30 local beer tastings. Bully Boy Distillers and Far From The Tree Cider will also each be launching a new product at the event!  Tickets include a delicious sampling of local food from a variety of vendors including American Flatbread, Taza Chocolate, and Vermont Smoke and Cure, as well as a special Black Box Challenge from Boston Organics with Chefs from Gourmet Caterers . While celebrating local brews, you will also savor live music by local musicians and enjoy one of Boston’s coolest places in the city. Leave your car at home, enjoy free round trip rides offered to venue by Uber for new users. More information at Eat Local. Drink Local. Be Local.

SBN’s 5th Local Craft Brewfest

Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Boston 02210

Ticket price: $47 single ticket / $90 for a pair