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Connecticut launches food waste collection pilot

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A new food waste collection pilot programme has been launched in Connecticut to generate biogas and help address the state’s waste disposal problems.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the City of Meriden announced the launch of ‘Making Meriden Green’, a first-of-its-kind municipal food scrap pilot that will help address the state-wide waste disposal crisis.

The pilot, funded through a $40,000 (€35,300) DEEP grant, will enrol 1,000 Meriden households in a free four-month programme to test an innovative way of separating valuable organic waste from other household waste. Residents will be given special colour-coded bags to dispose of food scraps and other organic waste.

Once collected from households, the waste will be transported to Quantum Biopower in Southington and transformed into biogas through anaerobic digestion.

“The City of Meriden is leading the way by launching this pilot at a critical time for Connecticut waste system,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes.

“These strategies have been shown to work elsewhere in the US and abroad. DEEP is thrilled to support Meriden’s path-breaking efforts to test this approach for the first time here in Connecticut."

The state is facing a solid waste disposal crisis, according to DEEP and the City of Meriden, as conventional options for disposing of municipal solid waste are diminishing or becoming more expensive. With fewer and rapidly-ageing disposal options in the state, residents and municipal leaders are expecting tipping fees to increase in the remaining waste-to-energy plants.

Kristen Brown of WasteZero, a DEEP consultant on waste strategy, commented: “Co-collection of food and trash using colour-coded bags provides a way for households to source separate food without the additional cost or emissions associated with adding a separate food waste collection route.

“With co-collection, food and trash materials are placed in the same cart, sent to a central facility where the colour-coded food bags are separated and processed to recover both energy and nutrients for the soil.”