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Beginning on March 2, a pilot program for recycling food scraps will be available for free to Weston residents. Those participating in the pilot will be able to deposit scrap food in special containers at the Transfer Station and, come spring, pick up free organic compost for their gardens.
The program was conceived and implemented by Sustainable Weston, the Department of Public Works, and the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA), the regional waste management and recycling agency Weston joined in 2020. An allocation of Weston’s ARPA grant was approved in June of 2022 to fund the pilot.
The hope is that residents will be eager to take full advantage of the opportunity. The first 100 who sign up (which you can do here) will get a free starter kit. The kit consists of a 1.5 gallon counter collection bin, a roll of 25 compostable liners, and a six gallon locking bucket for transporting food scraps to the Transfer Station. (The liners are certified as compostable by BPI, the Biodegradable Products Institute.)
If you miss the chance to get a free kit, you will be able to purchase one for $20 at a community information session at Lachat Town Farm on February 28 at 7:00 pm. Kits can also be bought, beginning on February 29, by credit card at the Transfer Station during regular operating hours.
But you don’t have to buy a kit. You can use your own collection container, BPI-certified liners, and bucket.
The first 250 who sign up will be entered into a raffle for prizes awarded at Lachat’s Earth Day event in April.
Beginning on March 2, participants can deposit food scraps for free at designated Curbside Compost collection bins at the Transfer Station during regular business hours. The bins will be next to the redeemables and glass recycling stations. Curbside Compost is the organics hauler that also serves Weston High School.
What goes in?
Acceptable items include:
These things cannot go in: plastic items, stickers, rubber bands, twist ties.
Sustainable Weston member Nicci Wiese said removing food scraps from the regular waste stream can save the town money and benefit the environment.
Food scraps may constitute one-quarter of the solid waste that currently is hauled away for incineration or shipped to an out-of-state landfill. Taking them out of the waste stream relieves pressure on landfills, cuts methane emissions caused by rotting food, and slows the rate of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Every day we have the choice to either feed the landfill or feed the earth,” said Ms. Wiese.
In this program, the hauler will regularly empty the bins at the Transfer Station and take the scrap to New Milford Farms, where it will be turned into high-quality compost and sold by the yard or by the bag. Compost from food scraps improves soil quality, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, helps soil retain water, and reduces erosion.
In the spring, residents who sign up for the Weston pilot program will be able to pick up two five gallon buckets of organic compost at the Transfer Station for free while supplies last. Details to follow.
Ms. Wiese and Public Works Director Larry Roberts have worked closely on this project with HRRA’s executive director, Jennifer Heaton-Jones, who described Connecticut’s solid waste crisis in a presentation last September at Lachat.
Ms. Wiese said HRRA currently has eight successful food scrap programs running and has pledged support for the success of Weston’s initiative.
An organic recycling program is already underway at Lachat for the farm’s kitchen programs and events, and an onsite facility composts clippings and debris from plants and some vegetables.