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City May Start Curbside Food Scrap Collection Program

In the FY23 City budget, Public Works made a funding request for $85,000 to start up a Curbside Food Scrap Collection program. The funding will cover the cost for the first year of a cooperative collection contract and necessary materials. At the budget meeting, I asked the DPW to make a presentation to present the details of the program.

The goal of the program was to begin the process of diverting food waste from the landfill, which comprises approximately 25% of discarded municipal solid waste, and to gauge the number of participants for possible expansion of the program. Food waste mixed with other trash disposed of at the landfill releases methane, a greenhouse gas and takes up precious space at our landfill.

Currently, DPW has been managing several drop off locations and over the last three years, residents have dropped off and diverted over 75 tons of food scraps from the landfill. Diverting food scrap saves in tipping fees and provides the material for composting which is a natural aerobic decomposition of organic matter into nutrient rich soil.

As part of the proposed food scrap collection program, the city will partner and contract with a local vendor to provide the curbside collections and DPW coordinate delivery of carts to residents that sign up for the service.

Based on research and from other jurisdictional data, we expect an initial 30-day startup participation of approximately 5% (200-250) household participants to sign up prior to the start and the forecast growth to 13% (600) households by the end of year one with over 107 tons of food scrap diverted from the landfill. The cost per household is approximately $14.50 for the first 250 households and as subscribers grow, a gradual decrease in cost per subscriber as volume discounts are reached. We would estimate the program start date of September 1, 2022.

The food scrap carts available would be a 12-Gallon cart with wheels at approximately $35.00 each and an 8-gallon bucket with lid at approximately $20.00 each. Compostable liner bags are also required for each receptacle.

The Council can also decide to incentivize the purchase of the cart by absorbing a portion of the cost for those residents that sign up for the program by a certain date. At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will discuss the program.

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