Food Waste Composting Notes

Takoma Park has now run two phases of a food-waste composting pilot, offering weekly curbside collection first to single-family homes in a couple of neighborhoods, and then to all single-family homes roughly south/west of Sligo Creek. The program is currently expanding to cover all city neighborhoods. Visit the city Web site for information and to sign up.

I responded to a request for stats on the city’s experience, and thought I’d post what I wrote. 

I’ll start by pulling stats from the October 21, 2013 council-meeting presentation, Takoma Park Food Compost Pilot: Current program results and next steps.

The pilot program cost was $33,500, covering 365 households for 35 weeks. That means a cost of under $1,000/week for 365 households (although the set-out rate averaged 70%, not 100%), or under $100 for one household for 35 weeks.

The pilot collected 55 tons of food wastes. I don’t know precisely how much the city pays in trash tipping fees (although see below for an overall cost), but at the county’s tipping fee rate of $56/ton, that’s only $3,080 saved on tipping fees, less than 1/10 the cost of the pilot. The major benefit is environmental.

An extension to the pilot, agreed by the council in October, covers an additional 500 homes for $45,065 or $2.65 per home/week for 34 weeks. The council agreed to go city-wide, for single-family homes, this fiscal year, which started July 1. The city projected 175 tons of food-waste collection for the FY.

The city’s FY15 budget provides the following Solid Waste Management figures on page 95:

Tons of trash
Actual FY13 — 3,162
Estimated FY14  3,100
Projected FY15  3,000

Tons of recycling
Actual FY13  1,489
Estimated FY14  1,500
Projected FY15  1,450

Tons of yard waste collected
Actual FY13  421
Estimated FY14  460
Projected FY15  450

Tons of food waste collected
Actual FY13  42
Estimated FY14  130
Projected FY15  175

According to page 97, approximate costs include “$190,000 for solid waste tipping fees and $35,500 for processing fees for single stream recycling processing, yard waste and food waste composting, and electronics recycling.” (We also have staff, equipment, and facilities costs.)

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