Apple cores, moldy sandwiches, chicken drumsticks, leftover pasta, eggshells and more – beginning this fall, up to 1,000 area residents will have the opportunity to recycle uneaten food through a new pilot program provided by the City’s Department of Environmental Services.
Funded through a $286,000 Composting and Food Waste Reduction grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the City’s Dish to Dirt Food Scraps Recycling pilot will provide participants the opportunity to drop off food waste items for free at any of the City’s three recycling drop-off facilities during designated hours. From there, food waste will be transported to the City’s Yardwaste Recycling Center and turned into nutrient-rich compost.
Food waste represents approximately 14% of the materials sent to Springfield’s Noble Hill Sanitary Landfill, according to a waste study prepared for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in 2016. Approximately 42% of that food waste comes directly from our homes. It’s estimated that food waste generates over 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Food waste represents a big problem in the solid waste industry, but I continue to be encouraged by the fact that of all the challenges we face, food waste is one we can all make a significant impact on right in our own kitchens, back yards and at our City facilities,” explains Market Development Coordinator Ashley Krug. “Composting food scraps allows area residents to turn their waste into a valuable resource instead of rotting in the landfill, generating methane and taking up limited space.”
A commercial branch of the program is expected to kick off later this year, providing a number of businesses and restaurants with training and resources to recycle their food waste.
“The City has operated a large-scale composting facility at the Yardwaste Recycling Center since 1991,” says Krug. “Funding from this grant will allow us to scale up our composting operations and provide the Food Scraps Recycling pilot to residents and businesses for18 months. We expect to get our hands dirty and learn a lot during that time and will continue working toward overall food waste reduction throughout our community.”
Drop-off locations will accept residential food waste through the program beginning Sept. 29. Residents interested in participating are encouraged to learn more and register at springfieldmo.gov/foodscraps.