Restaurants and grocery stores will be required to donate food they don’t use to food pantries or turn it into compost instead of throwing it in the dumpster under one of several of Gainesville’s new sweeping zero waste ordinances. Those requirements are among one of three proposed laws approved by the Gainesville City Commission. The ordinances require one more reading before taking effect and are designed to significantly reduce waste going to the landfill.
Another proposal would require that food that has not yet expired be given to people or animals first before being composted, which City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said is a “big” deal. “They will have to get (the food) to people who are hungry, so it is a major step in that direction of not wasting edible food and making sure that people in our community don’t go hungry,” Hayes-Santos said.
“We make it as easy as possible for people to dispose of things properly, in the right way and not continue to hoard them in bad attics and basements,” Ms. Carberry said. Ms. Carberry said electronic waste collection is “a real need” for the city, and she’s excited to get things up and running again. In 2020, the program collected about 144 tons of waste from televisions and computers, plus about 47 tons of other hazardous waste, like paint, she said. Not only does the program help city residents clean up their homes, it helps keep the city clean by limiting the amount of litter.