City officials must determine whether they will change the city’s ordinance regarding garbage and refuse in order to codify an ongoing co-collection program that was piloted in the city last fall and has been met with concerns from some residents. The city last year accepted a $1.3 million grant from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to launch a citywide pilot program in which residents were encouraged and reminded to separate food waste into a separate bag from the rest of their trash.

The bags — green for food waste and orange for household trash — have been collected through the city’s regular pickup service and taken to a facility where the food waste is transferred to an anaerobic digester and turned into renewable energy. Advocates for the program said the benefit of removing food scraps from the waste stream goes beyond the environmental benefits of reducing emissions from landfills and incinerators — it also is expected to stave off a tax increase, as the city’s contract for its tipping fees, the amount a municipality pays per tonnage of waste, is due to expire next year and is likely to roughly double. As a cost saving measure, officials have suggested diverting food scraps from the waste stream in addition to encouraging residents to produce less waste overall.

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Author: Brian Zahn, New Haven Register
Image: Brian Zahn, New Haven Register