Home Composting Kitchen Wastes to Reduce Landfill Waste

In 1995, the Village of Bellport adopted a pilot-composting program to test the feasibility of composting kitchen waste at home. Advantages include reducing landfill waste, lowering disposal costs, and creating a better attitude with community members about solid waste disposal. The Village of Bellport formed a committee to develop the program. They agreed that an initial pilot program would be best for two reasons. First, different types of composters should be tested and second, it would uncover any difficulties that residents might have using the composters. To begin, a letter and survey were sent to all residents describing the pilot and seeking volunteers to participate. Participation required the individual to weigh both compostable and mixed waste for one month, use one of the composters provided free of charge, and report on the advantages and disadvantages of home composting. Overall, sixteen families of different backgrounds were chosen. The participants attended a composting orientation session where they discussed the benefits and techniques of composting and were shown how to assemble the composters. They were also given a folder containing more information on composting and a log sheet to record their progress. The pilot program lasted for 8 months and results indicated that mixed waste could be reduced by 30% by home composting. The Village expanded the home-composting program to all of the residents of Bellport after the overwhelming success of the pilot program. For residents who wanted to participate the village offered a composter for only 10 dollars, which was considerably less than the actual cost.

The village calculated, with a modest participation level of 25%, they would save $11,000 a year from avoided costs related to reduced trash volume. Currently, 116 households are using composters, and another 200 have expressed interest in having one. Therefore, the village has the potential to save over $80,000 a year. Although the Village spends a considerable sum for composters, the savings more than pay for the program toward the end of the first year. This composting program is both a good financial investment and an excellent environmental program as well.
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