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    Wednesday, April 17, 2024

    Preston to launch pilot food waste compost program

    Preston ― Starting Friday, Preston residents will be able to drop off compostable food waste at the town transfer station in a free pilot program.

    The program comes in advance of plans approved last week for a large-scale proposed food waste composting plant on the grounds of the Preston trash incinerator.

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

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

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

    Preston now pays to have municipal solid waste incinerated at the SECONN facility in town. Data from DEEP shows about 22% of the waste stream is food, town officials said in a news release announcing the start of the food waste collection program.

    “The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of tonnage incinerated by removing food from the trash,” the town news release stated. “… Food scraps can be converted into compost, which improves soil quality, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, helps to retain water in the soil, and reduces soil erosion.”

    Acceptable items include fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry and bones, fish/shellfish and shells, dairy products, bread, pasta, rice, grains, eggs, eggshells, chips and snacks, nuts and seeds, left over and spoiled food, coffee grounds, and tea bags without staples. Also accepted are paper towels and napkins used for food production, but not for cleaning, cut flowers and pet food, but no pet waste.

    Free starter kits for Preston residents only are available at the transfer station and at Town Hall in the Planning Department, lower level, during business hours. Kits include a roll of 25 compostable bags and a 6-gallon bin to place food scraps. Starter kits are not required to participate. Proof of residency will be required if picking up kits at the Town Hall.

    More info can be found on www.preston-ct.org.


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