Table-Scrap Collection Project
Recently, BLUER committee member and West Chester University professor, Denise Polk, received an EPA grant through WCU to pioneer a pilot program to encourage local restaurants to compost. BLUER, Public Works, and the Business Improvement District are all partners and supporters of this pilot.
In addition, 3 restaurants volunteered to divert their food waste for a 6-month period for the pilot:
As part of the grant, the borough will use 1 of its trucks to transport the food waste so that it can be dropped off at a certified food-compost site. Demonstrating that restaurants can easily divert food waste and also save money by doing so is a key goal of this pilot
Hopes for Additional Participation
Eventually, BLUER would like to have other West Chester borough restaurants and food generators (health care facilities, schools, caterers, etc.) volunteer to divert their food waste as well.
Food rotting in landfills is the 3rd largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the EPA, “Recycling and composting prevented 86.9 million tons of material away from being disposed in 2011, up from 15 million tons in 1980. This prevented the release of approximately 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the air in 2011, equivalent to taking 34 million cars off the road for a year.”
GreenWaste Recovery estimates that “…we generate 21.5 million tons of food residuals annually. If this food waste were composted instead of being sent to landfills, the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to taking more than 2 million cars off the road.”
Even better, the finished compost provides a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be sold to landscapers and farmers, alleviating their need to use petrochemical fertilizer, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing runoff into waterways, and saving farmers money since compost is less expensive, more nutrient stable, and more sustainable than chemical fertilizer.