A new food waste disposal program, announced to start Monday, has City Hall pushing the benefits this week. Called the West Haven Food to Energy Program, the plan is to separate out food scraps from refuse in special bags. The bags will then be transported after collection to a Southington-based firm, Quantum Biopower.
Mayor Nancy M. Rossi was extolling the virtues of the program in statements made this week.
“I am thrilled to introduce a pilot project that will give the citizens of West Haven control over the Cities solid waste expenses and its impact on the environment,” she said.
The program is not mandatory, but optional, and city officials are hoping it will catch on with residents.
“While this is a change for West Haven, it is a proactive one,” said Rossi. “By adopting one simple household change, West Haven residents have the potential to save their community Millions of dollars in tax payer funded solid waste fees.”
The West Haven Food to Clean Energy program, funded by a $1.3 million DEEP Sustainable Materials Management grant, and will launch a nine-month pilot project for curbside food scrap diversion starting Nov. 7. Participation in the program comes at no cost to the 16,000 eligible households.
The program is expected to help curb the cost and logistics of finding means to dispose of municipal refuse. Rossi said the new program accomplishes some of those goals.
“Municipal Governments have long struggled with the financial and environmental cost of waste management. Now, Connecticut faces a crisis as there are very few solid waste incinerators available, and those that remain are rapidly aging. There are towns that are not prepared for the solid waste crises and how that will impact their taxpayers. We are not one of those towns” she said.
She said the new program is part of her ongoing effort to improve residents’ lives in the city.
“I am committed to delivering the services that improve the quality of life in our community, and will do so at the best value possible to the taxpayers in the City of West Haven,” she said.
Doug Colter, city Grants Coordinator was in charge of the effort, developing the program, which won the grant.
“This $1,300,200 State DEEP funded program that my staff pursued and won in a competitive grant program will allow the City to separate our organic food waste so that it can be disposed of at an anerobic digester that creates farm fertilizer and green energy as an output. Presently, we burn this waste in incinerators at a significant expense,” she said.
Helping to cut costs by changing habits is the means to making the program work, Rossi said.
“This food waste separation program has enormous financial and environmental benefits for our residents, and instead of asking you to pay more for services, we simply ask for one simple household chore adjustment—-to put the food scraps in a separate bag. I would like to emphasize that there is no change to your trash schedules, the trash cans you currently use, or recycling pickups,” she said.
Rossi thanked several people for the pilot grant, and the support the city received from other governmental bodies.
“I want to thank our state delegation for their efforts in making this funding opportunity available for West Haven, Deputy Commissioner (Tracy) Babbidge and the DEEP Solid Waste Division Staff. I would also like to thank Consultant Waste Zero for the heroic efforts in putting this program together and their commitment to making it a success for West Haven, as well as Carl Amento and Pam Roach from the South Central Regional Council of Governments for their enthusiastic support of West Haven’s solid waste modernization efforts,” she said. “Last but certainly not least, thank you to the City of West Haven’s Public Works Department and our Grants Department for working closely together to make this a reality.”