With approximately 40% of food being wasted in the US and our landfills rapidly reaching capacity, composting is becoming an increasingly important component of the waste management infrastructure. New Milford Farms, a composting facility located in New Milford, CT, is part of a network of composting facilities ensuring that wasted food is put to good use.

Two of our EcoFellows had the opportunity to tour New Milford Farms and see a commercial composting facility in action. New Milford Farms was established in 1991 as the first state-permitted composting facility to compost food by-product waste from Nestle USA operations. They have since expanded their operations to compost green waste in addition to food waste.

 

compost rows

Compost rows

The Connecticut Commercial Organics Recycling Law requires that businesses producing more than 104 tons of organic waste per year and located within 20 miles of a composting facility or anaerobic digester must recycle their organic material. In 2020, the limit for projected annual volumeĀ of organic material has decreased to 52 tons per year, which will increase the number of businesses and institutions that are subject to this recycling law.

compost equipment

Compost sorting equipment

Facilities such as New Milford Farms help businesses stay in compliance with these laws by accepting their organic waste and turning it into a valuable commodity. Besides home gardening, compost is used in small and large scale agricultural operations as a soil conditioner, as well as in highway construction, erosion control, and stormwater management.

Composting is a beneficial practice because it enriches the soil, returning nutrients to the natural system and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Composting encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter, converting it into a rich loam-like substance. This nutrient rich product helps soil to retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests, making it valuable for a variety of purposes.

pallets of bagged compost

Pallets containing finished compost ready to be sold.

It was great to learn about the work that New Milford Farms is doing to help keep businesses and institutions in compliance with organics recycling laws. Thank you for the tour New Milford Farms!

Interested in composting in your own home? Check out our website for home composting tips and to learn about vermicomposting!

Are you a business or institution looking to reduce your wasted food? Visit Wasted Food Solutions for state specific resources to reduce wasted food.