West Haven introduces its new Food to Clean Energy program on November 7 to limit the amount of food waste dumped in landfills.
“We hope this will provide universal food waste collection for anyone who wants it,” said Kristen Brown, vice president of waste reduction strategy for WasteZero.
The pilot program, funded by a $1.3 million grant from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, will last nine months with the goal of reducing the waste borne by fewer and fewer landfills.
“Thirty years ago in the United States we had 6,000 landfills,” Brown said. “Today we have just over 1,000.”
West Haven is one of 15 cities in the state to have agreed to receive grants for similar initiatives.
“The goal of the Connecticut pilot project is to divert as much material as possible from landfills, and therefore extend the life of those landfills,” Brown said.
The city will distribute orange bags for garbage and green bags to fill with food waste for single-family residents of West Haven.
“It’s a way to put it in the same bin today, that you take out your regular trash and have it collected for you,” Brown said.
West Haven’s normal garbage service will take the orange bags to their regular incinerator, while food waste in the green bags will go to Southington’s Quantum Biopower facility to be converted into clean energy.
On social media platforms, concerns about space or animal activity have been raised.
“Don’t put it next to the container on the floor, put it in the container,” she said.
These containers raised another concern for Gerry Collins.
“I don’t think I should have to provide the container if it’s part of the project,” Collins said.
Brown said that while the city does not currently have containers, it expects to offer them in the near future.
If the program progresses beyond pilot status, West Haven residents will absorb some of the costs, but according to Brown, the potential benefits of the program could offset the rising cost of the region’s current waste management solutions.