Bath has so far distributed 75 of 100 composting bins made from recycled lobster traps to residents in an effort officials hope will change the “culture” around waste in the city and fight climate change at the local level. 

The goal of the composting project is to “decrease food waste in the landfill to lower greenhouse gas emissions and prolong the life of the landfill,” according to Paul Perkins, co-chairperson of the Bath Climate Commission and vice chairperson of the Bath Solid Waste Committee.   

The initiative is a partner project alongside Garbage to Garden, which delivers food waste to Agri-Cycle, a service that turns food waste into renewable energy and soil.  Residents deliver their composted food waste to one of the two drop-off locations or they can pay for curbside pickup from the city. 

Perkins said he hopes to expand these efforts over time.

“Ideally, we can help businesses and schools come up with ways to give excess food away, compost it, or give it to animals,” he said. “We’re in the early stages of exploring how to make that happen.” 

He said figuring out what to do with waste from markets, retailers and restaurants will be a big but important undertaking in Bath. 


The free composting bins were made possible through a $5,000 grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

“A requirement by the DEP is to report whether we were actually able to divert waste, so we decided to survey those who get the backyard bin and we’ll use those results to report back to the DEP about how it went,” said Lee Leiner, director of Public Works. 

Bath residents can request one of the remaining bins by completing a survey on the city of Bath’s website or by contacting the Public Works Department. Those who receive the free bins must agree to participate in monthly surveys.

“The idea is to start or continue a change in culture around waste in Bath,” Leiner said. “This particular aspect of the waste stream is something that does not have to go into a landfill and you can do something more productive with it.” 

Leiner also emphasized that this is one step in what he hopes to be a continuum of conversation and action around waste management in Bath. “If you don’t make an effort, you don’t make a dent, so you might as well take that first step,” he said. 

Until broader action is taken, Perkins said,  local initiatives like this one will be key in combatting climate change.

“Given the lack of consensus at the federal level to implement climate legislation, it really falls to state legislation and individual people to deal with climate issues, and food waste is a big part of that,” said Perkins. “This is an opportunity to do something at the local level.” 

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