The “Food Scrap to Energy” program is pacing well ahead of expectations, according to the official charged with its implementation. Doug Colter, Grants Coordinator for the city, who is overseeing the implementation of the state grant funding the food waste diversion co-collection project has reported that the program is way ahead of collection goals.
“At only four months into the program, the city has reduced its incineration weight by about 15%,” Cutler said this week. “This is equivalent to about $17,000 per month in avoided cost.”
Colter noted the goal for the four month data point was only 10%, and the overall goal is 40% after one year.
“The eventual financial goal is to reduce the incineration tipping fee by about $585,000 in avoided cost per year,” he said.
The term “avoided cost” takes into consideration new tipping fees, which are about 45% higher than historical rates, he noted.
The City’s solid waste consultant, Waste Zero, has teams canvassing the trash collection routes in West Haven, and posting education and coaching notices on trash cans and recycling bins. This education effort is designed to increase the amount food being put into the green bags. It replaced an ill-fated “Notice of Noncompliance” effort in December that hampered, rather than helped, people enter the program.
Colter also reported that the green bag “contamination rate” – non-food items in the green bag– has improved from a 30% te to less than 20%.
“Contamination rates need to be below 5% to make the program cost-effective and improve the quality of the compost output from food waste processing,” he said.
The Waste Zero canvassing teams are following the trash collection trucks and observing what is being disposed of and how. When coaching is needed, they are placing a paper tag on the trash container. Residents who want to learn more can visit www.reducethetrachct.com/westhaven .
No data on names or addresses is being collected or stored.
“The purpose of this education outreach is to improve the quality of food scraps diversion, and improve diversion of recyclable materials to lower costs to taxpayers,” Colter said.
Food scrap co-collection pilot program funded a nine-month supply (117 bags) of orange (78) and green (39) bags for each household in West Haven.
Colter also reported there has been an increase in requests for more bags. This is unexpected as the state had calculated and budgeted what was believed to be enough bags to last until June.
“The objective of the pilot is to divert food scraps and reduce waste overall. We are currently four months into the pilot program and are finding that residents are rethinking their waste,” Colter said. After recycling and diverting food scraps, donating textiles, household goods, and other items, the only things left in the trash would be styrofoam, plastic bags, tissues, black plastic, kitty litter, etc. Residents are finding that they are only putting out an average of two full orange bags a week meaning that they have only used 24 of the 78 orange bags given to date.”
Colter said if residents have run out of tehir allotted free bags they may purchase additional bags at the following locations:
Krauszers, 10 Jones Hill Road (Baybrook Plaza, corner of Ocean Avenue); Krauszers, 911 Campbell Ave. (across from the VA); Krauszers, 377 Campbell Ave. (across from Walgreens, corner of Brown Street); Krauszers, 191 Platt Ave. (near to the WHHS); Nazar Halal Meat and Market, 39 Elm St.; GreatWay Food, 502 Sawmill Road; Best Gas, 161 Boston Post Road; Noble Gas Station, 941 Boston Post Road. The price is $1.05 for five green bags and $1.55 for five orange bags.
Colter said those residents looking to reduce their trash should review reducethetrashct.com/westhaven.