Preston to launch food waste composting pilot program

Feb. 3—PRESTON — Starting Friday, Preston residents will be able to drop off their compostable food waste at the city’s transfer station as part of a free pilot program.

The scheme comes ahead of plans approved last week for a large-scale food waste composting plant on the grounds of the Preston Waste Incinerator.

City officials announced Thursday that a program in partnership with Blue Earth Compost in Hartford will begin Friday at the transfer station, 108 Ross Road. The program is free to Preston residents with city transfer station permit stickers.

Blue Earth will place food waste collection bins at the transfer station, collect food scraps and transport them to Quantum Biopower, an anaerobic digester in Southington. In 21 days, Quantum can convert food scraps into compost and contain the methane byproduct inside the biogas facility to produce electricity for the city of Southington.

The Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resources Recovery Authority’s proposed food waste composting operation would use an aerated system to speed decomposition, creating marketable compost in four weeks.

Preston now pays to have municipal solid waste incinerated at the city’s SECONN facility. DEEP data shows that about 22 percent of waste streams are food, city officials said in a statement announcing the start of the food waste collection program.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce tonnage incinerated by removing food from trash,” the city’s statement said. “…Food scraps can be converted into compost, which improves soil quality, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, helps retain water in the soil, and reduces soil erosion.”

Accepted items include fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry and bones, fish/shellfish, dairy, bread, pasta, rice, cereals, eggs, eggshells , chips and snacks, nuts and seeds, leftover spoiled food and coffee grounds. , and staple-free tea bags. Paper is also accepted…

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