While composting is still voluntary for commercial businesses, curbside composting pick up will begin at home for all Portland residents Oct. 31.

Portland's city council approved the program with a unanimous vote Aug. 17, after 87 percent of the 2,000 households that participated in a yearlong pilot program responded that they were satisfied with their curbside composting collection service.

With this decision, Portland will join 90 other towns and cities throughout the United States that already off er curbside composting collection to their residents.

Under the new program, Portland residents will place food scraps in their existing yard debris carts. These will be picked up every week instead of every other week.

Many items that cannot currently be composted in a backyard - meat, bones, dairy, seafood, eggshells, cooked foods and pizza delivery boxes - will be accepted.

Alternatively, the landfill-bound garbage containers that have until now been picked up every week will only be collected once every two weeks under the new schedule.

Some concerns have been expressed about the health effects of leaving garbage uncollected for an extended amount of time and the smell associated with rotting foods.

Some customers may also experience collection rate increases.

City commissioners said adjusting to the program might be an annoyance for some at first, but that they believe these challenges are outweighed by the long-term benefits of composting.

- Jim Redden contributed to this report

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