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Connecticut’s largest food scrap diversion program will help solve state’s waste disposal crisis
WEST HAVEN, Oct. 21, 2022 — The city is “excited” to launch the largest food scrap co-collection program in the history of Connecticut, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi announced.
Starting Nov. 7, West Haven will be the first city in the state to offer a citywide curbside food scrap diversion option to all single-family residents.
Rossi said the program will allow all single-family homes — one, two and three families — to easily separate food scraps and have them collected at the curb in the same container now used for residents’ trash collection.
West Haven and 15 other municipalities have received a Sustainable Materials Management grant from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to develop and launch food-to-clean-energy programs.
Food scrap diversion programs are critical in addressing the state’s waste disposal crisis, said Grant Coordinator Doug Colter, who secured the funding for the city.
Colter said Connecticut is facing a solid waste disposal crisis, as traditional options for disposing of municipal solid waste are diminishing or becoming more expensive. With fewer and rapidly aging disposal options in the state, residents and municipal leaders can expect disposal costs to increase at the remaining waste incineration facilities “as well as out-of-state landfilling,” he said.
“Thirty-five percent of what residents throw away is organic material — food scraps and yard waste — that can be diverted for composting anaerobic digestion to create clean energy,” Colter said.
The West Haven Food to Clean Energy program, funded by a $1.3 million DEEP SMM grant, 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.
Colter said the funding will cover the purchase of special color-coded bags for trash and for food scrap separation for the nine-month pilot. It will also cover the cost of educational materials — mailers, a website and a Connect mobile app — along with personnel to sort the bags and the shipment of food scraps to Quantum Biopower in Southington, where the food will be converted into clean electricity, he said.
“We are very excited for West Haven to be leading the way in Connecticut with this innovative, free food-to-clean-energy collection program,” Rossi said. “The DEEP SMM grant allows 16,000 eligible households the opportunity to participate in a program that can have a positive and significant financial and environmental impact for our city. I am encouraging all eligible residents to pick up their free bags and to participate in this important program to show that sustainability programs should be accessible to everyone.”
Starting this week, West Haven residents will receive a mailer with information on the program, instructions to download the Connect app, and locations and times to pick up their free nine-month supply of green and orange bags.
Residents can pick up the free bags at the following locations, dates and times:
More details at Food Scrap Recycling.
The Downsizing Donation Guide: A Resource for Residents of New Haven County (PDF)
What’s In? What’s Out? A Guide to Recycling (PDF)