Official Press Release:
For immediate release Contact: Lorenzo Macaluso, 413-218-1543, Lorenzo.Macaluso@cetonline.org

Toolkit Unlocks Potential for Food Scrap Composting

The Center for EcoTechnology (CET), in partnership with BioCycle, releases a toolkit on adding food scraps to leaf and yard trimmings composting sites – decision tree for municipalities and other composting site operators.

(Northampton MA, December 5, 2019) Forty percent of food in the United States goes to waste–this amounts to $218 billion each year spent on food that is never eaten. The majority of this wasted food ends up in landfills, where it produces harmful greenhouse gases and effects states and localities landfill capacity. Existing municipal yard trimming composting sites represent an under-used potential to quickly increase the capacity to effectively process food scraps locally. COMMUNITY TOOLKIT: Adding Food Waste to a Yard Trimmings Compost Facility, published by the Center for EcoTechnology in partnership with BioCycle, will help municipalities determine how to employ this strategy in their community. Topics covered include: why operations may want to expand, evaluation of the existing site, best practices for composting food waste, collection and hauling considerations, regulatory requirements, types of food waste, economic considerations, and compost markets.

More and more communities are realizing that food waste represents the single largest component in their municipal waste stream. CET has noticed a trend in inquires to its Wasted Food Solutions and RecyclingWorks hotlines – municipalities interested in exploring adding food scraps to their existing compost piles. Many are already composting leaves, grass clippings and other organic materials and realize they may already have an attainable solution partly developed and under their jurisdiction. CET and BioCycle collaborated to create a tool to help municipalities evaluate and plan for this approach.

After source reduction and food recovery to feed people and animals, composting food waste with yard trimmings is a critical component of resilient food systems. The finished compost, when applied to soil, provides much needed organic matter, slow-release nutrients, and improved water retention — all essential in local food production. Furthermore, compost application is shown to sequester carbon in the soil. The bottom line is a big win for the climate — reduced methane emissions by composting instead of landfilling food waste, and carbon sequestration.

“Over the years, we have seen the importance of well-run composting sites as a critical part of the infrastructure needed to responsibly manage food scraps,” says John Majercak, President of CET. “We believe local composting sites can have a positive impact and are a big win for communities, regional economies, and the environment.”

“COMMUNITY TOOLKIT: Adding Food Waste to a Yard Trimmings Composting Facility” is a “synthesis of practical how-to tips and years of lessons learned about how to successfully compost food waste — culled from BioCycle articles and our books,” explains BioCycle Editor Nora Goldstein. “Managing food waste at a yard trimmings composting facility requires more oversight and attention to detail, but typically can be done with existing equipment, at least to get started.”

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Published since 1960, BioCycle – the Organics Recycling Authority (BioCycle.net) – is the leading source of information on composting, compost utilization, food recovery and recycling, anaerobic digestion and biogas. Through BioCycle CONNECT, online content and conferences, BioCycle guides the industry and the public on how to process organic residuals such as yard trimmings, food waste, woody materials, biosolids, manure, high strength organic wastes and other source separated feedstocks into value-added products.

For more information, sign up for BioCycle’s complimentary e-issue, BioCycle CONNECT, to access the latest content, including feature articles, organics recycling news and insights from thought leaders.
The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) helps people and businesses save energy and reduce waste. CET acts as a catalyst to accelerate the development of a vibrant marketplace to divert wasted food from the commercial and institutional sectors. CET offers program design and implementation services, as well as information and advice, nationally. For more information visit https://wastedfood.cetonline.org/.
This material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are the sole responsibilities of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Rural Utilities Service.

The Center for EcoTechnology is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Community Toolkit