The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the City of Meriden this week celebrated the successful launch of “Making Meriden Green,” a first-of-its-kind municipal food scrap co-collection pilot program that the city kicked off last month. The pilot, funded through a $40,000 DEEP Save Money & Reduce Trash grant, began in early February and has already collected 5,600 pounds of food scrap from participating households.
Thirty-five percent of what state residents throw away is organic material – food scraps and yard waste – that can be diverted from the trash for composting, anaerobic digestion, or processing into animal feed. Diverting organic material can lead to considerable reduction in the amount of waste by weight that ends up on the tipping floor, and in turn, reduced municipal solid waste disposal costs.
For the pilot program, approximately 1,000 Meriden households were provided with special color-coded bags to dispose of food scraps and other organic waste. These are collected at the same time as trash and transported to Quantum Biopower in Southington, where the organic waste is transformed into renewable energy (biogas) and composted for use as nutrient-rich material that can be used to enrich soil. Meriden’s innovative pilot is providing the city and the state with valuable information on how the process of food scrap co-collection can reduce the amount of trash residents dispose of, at a time when cities and towns have seen municipal solid waste tipping fees increase considerably over the last few years.
“We are excited about the initial results from the City of Meriden, both in participation and in numbers, and look forward to other communities following Meriden’s lead to reduce waste,” says DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes.
In addition to DEEP and the City of Meriden, project partners include the South Central Regional Council of Governments, waste hauler HQ Dumpsters, Quantum Biopower, Sustainable Meriden, and WasteZero.
For more information, see here.