Friday, January 13, 2012

Curbside Foodwaste Pickup in the Borough

One of the easier and more satisfying ways to reduce the amount of trash you put out for pickup is to compost food scraps, either by composting in the backyard or by participating in Princeton's curbside pickup program.

For backyard composting, this bucket costs about $20, prevents any odors in the kitchen, and is still like new after 15 years of service.

Backyard composting is the most ecological approach to dealing with foodscraps and yard trimmings, but the other option is the curbside program now available to all Princeton residents. Though pickup of kitchen scraps, often mixed with low-grade paper and garden trimmings, has been practiced in cities like San Francisco and Seattle, Princeton township is reportedly the first town in New Jersey to offer the service. The program has about 250 participants thus far.

This service has recently been extended to borough residents, who can participate for $10/month. Hopefully, consolidation will provide a means to greatly expand the number of people taking advantage of this service. Presumably, after consolidation there would not be an extra charge for the service. Full participation would bring a reduction of 30% in the trash Princeton generates.

Below is some QandA with the township recycling coordinator, Janet Pellichero:

Q: What is the cost for borough residents to participate?
A: It is $20.00 per month (editor's update: recently reduced to $10/month) for weekly collection of organics. Collected every Monday.

Q: Where is the foodwaste taken for composting?
A: It is taken to Peninsula Compost Group, in Wilmington Delaware. It is marketable compost in 80 days. (meat, fish, bones, pizza boxes, waxed cardboard, shellfish, oils etc. anything that grows goes)

Q: I've heard the program would have to be terminated if not enough households participate. How long is it guaranteed to continue?
A: It is a permanent program. (editor's update, 2.28.12: I now hear that the program has to reach 500 participants to remain viable)

Q: What is the best response to people who have worries about flies and odors?
A: There have been NO complaints regarding flies or odors.  The containers have a snap lock lid.

More info and contact info can be found here.


Don Greenberg said...

Hi Steve,

Nice article in the Packet, very informative. Your link here to the various lists does not seem to be working though. It goes to a page that require a log in.

Thanks again for the article.

Stephen Hiltner said...

Thanks for pointing out the problem with the link. It was in the "Recycling in Princeton" post, and should work now.