Department or Program

Environmental Studies/Science

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Daniel J. Brabander

Additional Advisor(s)

Alden Griffith

Additional Advisor

James Morton Turner


The disposal of municipal solid waste is a cause of concern in its potential for pollution and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, pushing municipalities to embrace greener waste management strategies. Within this context, composting has grown in importance in recent years, particularly as an organic waste management strategy. This includes implementing curbside compostable waste collection programs, operating food scrap drop-off sites, and distributing compost bins. Given that municipal composting seems to be the way forward for many municipalities, it is crucial to ensure that such schemes are environmentally just, economically equitable and socially accessible. My thesis examines within the Massachusetts context what kinds of municipal composting programs work, where, why and how, taking into account differing social factors such as income and education. Using a combination of statistical and case study approaches, I offer insights for municipalities looking to adopt sustainable and localized organic waste management strategies.