Greenwich’s Food Scrap Recycling: Your Questions Answered

Food Scrap Recycling Program Coming to Greenwich. The following information is from the Town of Greenwich and the Waste Free Greenwich group.

Contact Waste Free Greenwich to volunteer at outreach and educational events and to learn more: wastefreegreenwich@gmail.com

WHY RECYCLE FOOD SCRAPS?

Food scraps are one of the largest components of our waste stream in Connecticut, making up more than 22% of municipal solid waste, according to CT DEEP.  This is up from 13.5% in 2010.

Food waste is not trash!  It’s a potentially valuable resource that can be turned into compost, a soil amendment that enriches our soil.  All the nutrients, energy and resources used to produce food are lost when food is trashed, along with the expenses associated with their collection, transport and disposal.

When food scraps are incinerated or landfilled, these resources are lost. Food scraps are wet and heavy, decreasing the efficiency of incinerators, and in landfills, the material creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat contributing to climate change. Composting food scraps turns that story around, by producing a useful and valuable product that gives back to our nutrient life cycle, resulting in cleaner soil, water and air.

A food scrap recycling program can also increase awareness and change habits.  As residents separate food waste from trash, they become aware of how much food they toss, prompting them to buy less. Ultimately, this can lead to less garbage collected and potentially less waste management expenses.

HOW WILL IT WORK?

The drop-off food scrap recycling pilot will be voluntary and free to all Greenwich residents. It’s easy!

1. COLLECT your food scraps in a kitchen collection container. Although not required, you may line the container with a compostable or paper bag – please no plastic bags. Unknotted bags are preferable. Compostable bags are available for purchase (25 bags for $2/roll) at Greenwich Green & Clean by appointment only (203-531-0006). If purchased elsewhere, bags must be BPI certified.

2. TRANSFER food scraps from the countertop pail once full to a larger bin for weekly storage. Most residents will fill the countertop pail 3-4 times per week. This larger bin can also be used for transportation of food scraps to Holly Hill. Anything that holds around 5-6 gallons and has a lid will work. It is recommended that food storage bins be kept indoors – either in the house or in the garage.

3. BRING your transportation bin to the Food Scrap Recycling drop-off site at Holly Hill to dispose of your food scraps as often as needed.

DROP-OFF LOCATION AND HOURS:

The Food Scrap Recycling drop is located at the Holly Hill Resource Recovery Facility. The drop-off site is open during hours of operation (Monday-Friday 7:00am to 2:30pm; Saturday 7:00am to 12:00 noon). There is no charge to drop off food scraps, but you must have a permit available at Holly Hill to use the facility.

WHAT WILL BE ACCEPTED?

All food, including:

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Meat & poultry
  • Fish & shellfish
  • Dairy products
  • Rice & grains
  • Eggshells
  • Chips & snacks
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Leftover, spoiled & expired food (cooked ok)

Other items (if in doubt, ask before contaminating your food scrap recyclables):

  • Coffee grounds (paper filters ok)
  • Tea bags (no staples)
  • Napkins & paper towels (food spoiled only, no chemical cleaners)
  • Cut flowers & house plants
  • BPI-certified compostable bags.

WHAT WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED?

  • No plastic bags, plastic packaging & wrappers.  Plastic does not biodegrade & will contaminate compost.  Use only BPI-certified compostable bags, paper bags or no bags.
  • No bio-plastic or compostable food service ware.
  • No baby, hand or cleaning wipes.  They are synthetic, do not biodegrade and contaminate the compost.
  • No pet waste.

STARTER KITS

Although they are not required to participate, food scrap recycling “starter kits” make it easy.  Kits are $20 each (cash or checks payable to Greenwich Recycling Advisory Board) and include one 2-gallon countertop pail, one 6-gallon home storage and transportation bin and one roll of 25 compostable bags.

Starter kits can be purchased at:

1.  Greenwich Green & Clean (113 Pemberwick Road) by appointment only at 203-531-0006.

2.  Outreach events:

  • Greenwich Community Gardens Sign Up Days, Cos Cob Firehouse, 2nd floor (200 East Putnam Avenue)
    • Saturday, 3/7 (10am-3pm)
    • Sunday, 3/8 (1-3pm)
  • Sam Bridge Farmers’ Market, 437 North Street
    • Saturday, 3/14 (9:30am-1pm)
    • Saturday, 3/21 (9:30am-1pm)
    • Saturday 3/28 (9:30am-1pm)

Contact Waste Free Greenwich to volunteer at outreach and educational events and to learn more: wastefreegreenwich@gmail.com