The city of Boise ran out of free compost last year, but officials think there’ll be plenty this year — enough, in fact, to sell leftovers to businesses.
Four companies — FarWest, a Boise nursery; Diamond Street Recycling, which sells landscaping products; Cloverdale Nursery; and Waupaca Northwoods, a Wisconsin-based soil products company that also does business in Boise — want to buy excess compost not being used by Boise residents or on city-owned property such as parks, said Catherine Chertudi, Boise’s environmental programs manager.
Compost is free for Boise residents who put kitchen scraps and yard waste into bins for pickup in the city’s nine-month-old composting program. The city allows them to pick it up in East Boise at the Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Old Penitentiary Road; and at Boise WaterShed, 11818 W. Joplin Road in West Boise.
Boise is working on a system for verifying that only participants receive free compost. Spokesman Colin Hickman said the city wants to make sure the supply isn’t being abused by nonparticipants, especially businesses that might profit from free compost, but doesn’t want to make the program too burdensome for people using it as intended.
Most compost comes from yard waste such as grass clippings. As spring and summer bring on landscaping season, Chertudi expects the program to produce about 10,000 cubic yards of excess compost this year, despite the fact it was such a hot item last fall that the dispensing sites ran out.
The city will sell the compost to commercial customers for $8 per cubic yard. Money from the sale will offset the cost of the composting program, according to an internal city memo.