Thursday, August 7, 2014

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.)