2014: The Year of Food Waste Recycling?

We’re just beginning this new year, but talk of diverting food from landfills–be it by composting or anaerobic digestion–abounds. And that’s a very good thing.

In Connecticut, January 1st meant the start of a new law requiring some businesses within 20 miles of a composting facility to recycle their food waste. While the specifics still feel odd—food recycling is mandatory  for businesses producing more than 104 tons per year–the Nutmeg State is grinding toward sustainability.

image courtesy of Frederick County, MarylandDown the road, New York City is continuing to ramp up its food waste recycling efforts by striking a deal with trash big boys Waste Management. The company has started to deliver food waste to a Brooklyn wastewater treatment plant that is already converting another kind of waste to energy.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts is gearing up for July, when its commercial food waste landfill ban goes into effect. The state hopes the ban will help it reach overarching waste reduction goals and is providing some funding for AD facilities to beef up the food recycling infrastructure. And as with most things Massachusetts, the Red Sox are involved.

But how do people feeeel about composting?? According to a National Waste and Recycling Association online survey, people are into it. Of those not already composting, 67 percent said they’d be willing to if their city or town had a program. Yet 62 percent of respondents say they wouldn’t tolerate composting if it meant a price increase.

Looking into my crystal ball, I’d bet that food waste diversion will increase annually. I’ll be able to write this same post every January, hopefully, as each year promises increasing amounts of food recycling. By the economics alone, throwing food in landfills is a real …waste.

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Update: Rhode Island may be adding their name to this conversation! On Monday (1/13/14), Rep. Donna Walsh, D-Charlestown, introduced a bill to the General Assembly that would ban food waste from landfills by 2021.

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