Local Food Waste Update

by Sheree Cammer, Troy Compost volunteer

Easily compostable organic waste is generated at the rate of an estimated 3/4 pound per person per day in the USA, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Crisis or opportunity?

It’s up to us.

Inter-Municipal Organics Wate Initiative

A resolution approving the City of Troy joining the Inter-Municipal Organics Waste Initiative (IOWI) and endorsing the IOWI Application to NYSERDA’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Program Phase II was passed by unanimous vote by the Troy City Council on August 8. Watervliet Mayor Mike Manning had presented details on the IOWI and Watervliet Organic Waste (WOW), Watervliet’s pilot food waste program, at the July 25 Troy City Council meeting. Watervliet had expected to cut 30% volume from their general waste when they started WOW. So far, the result is slightly better with some households reporting zero waste using the composting and recycling programs together. By the conclusion of the pilot, several thousand tons of material had been diverted from the landfill.

Troy head of Public Works Bill Chamberlain noted that the IOWI for Troy would be a 2-year trial involving local food waste hauler Empire Zero bringing curbside food waste from 150 residences and 50 businesses to Schenectady Soil and Water Conservation District’s compost facility. Chamberlain reminded the Council that the program would save the City money on tipping fees and overall.

The following is from a Times Union article announcing the grant application (http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/New-industry-seen-for-trash-reduction-4723278.php)

Mayor Manning stated, “This grant (in) the Capital District (will) seed a new industry that can serve all 160 municipalities.” He noted that the grant would permit Watervliet’s composting program to include an anaerobic digester to produce energy and would permit Schenectady County to expand its composting site. Manning noted, “Composting and digestion sites can be small and compact and can be sited in communities of all sizes.” Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia said, “The grant will allow the city to implement a pilot composting program … and provide the city with enough data to make an educated determination on the potential for expansion of the program.”

Food Waste Collection Expanding in the Capital Region

Empire Zero announced on its facebook page and website that the pilot curbside food waste program in Bethlehem was ending, and that Empire Zero is expanding the program into other parts of the region. except the downtown area of Albany. For that area of Albany, Empire Zero recommends trying the Radix Center http://radixcenter.org/ .

The Empire Zero program provides two 5-gallon buckets and compostable liners. All food waste is accepted, including meats, dairy products and bones, picked up once a week. Every month a free bucket of fresh compost is given to the customer. Empire Zero brings the material to one of our local compost facilities where they turn it into beautiful black gold. Details at empirezerowaste.com/empirezeroresidentialcompostprogram/

Troy Compost

Volunteers of Troy Compost have been working for many months on food waste and recycling for the City of Troy. Our next meeting for anyone interested Wed., Sept. 11, 6 p.m.

Contact troycompost@gmail.com or 518-308-8816 for the meeting place or more info.

Troy Compost’s food scrap collection from market goers and some vendors at the Troy Farmers Market began Saturday June 8, and has continued every Saturday since. Food scraps of any kind are currently accepted. Special biodegradable compost bags are available at Pfeils hardware http://www.pfeilhardware.com/ Plastic, metal, glass, paper, cardboard, and other contaminants are not acceptable. The food scraps go to a local farm, where they are composted. A typical collection each Saturday lately totals 40 gallons or more of food waste. Volunteers are invited to contact Guy at schafe@rpi.edu .



Published in September/October 2013 Save the Pine Bush Newsletter