Food Scrap Composting

Municipality: Scarsdale
County: Westchester County
Population: 10,001 to 50,000
Type: Village

2017 Local Government Achievement Award

Village Hall: (914) 722-1100

The Village of Scarsdale created a food scrap recycling program to help with waste reduction and help residents be more environmentally friendly. The village made it possible for residents to compost their food scraps by setting up a drop-off site located at the Village Recycling Center.

This commercial-grade food scrap recycling service meets the community needs in a cost-effective manner. An ad-hoc committee was created consisting of residents with experience in food scrap recycling and village staff to monitor program implementation and conduct outreach and education regarding the new service.

There are 20 outdoor toters (32 gallons each) for the food scraps. These are special “organic” toters bins. They have thicker walls, latch on lid, sealed tip bar and bright green in color. The food scraps are picked up weekly by a private hauler and brought to a compost facility outside of Scarsdale. The village sells food scrap recycling “starter kits” to residents for $20. The starter kits come with everything residents need to get started on the program including a 6 gallon kitchen pail, a food scrap recycling guide, 13 gallon travel bin and compostable corn bags.

How residents recycle food scraps:
1. Collect food scraps in a countertop pail. All food is accepted but should not be mixed with non-food or non-compostable, as described in the non-accepted items. Although not required, residents may line their pail with a compostable bag. No plastic bags allowed.
2. Most residents will fill the countertop pail with food scraps 3-4 time per week. Therefore, it is suggested that residents also have a larger bin to transfer food scraps into for weekly storage. This larger bin can also be used for transportation of food scraps to the Recycling Center. Anything that holds around 5-6 gallons and has a lid will work. It is recommended that food storage bins be kept indoors – either in the house or in the garage.
3. Bring the transportation bin to the food scrap recycling drop-off at the Recycling Center to dispose of food scraps as often as needed.

The program costs are approximately $2,000 to cover the outdoor toters, signage and educational materials. The annual operating expense is about $5,000 for the weekly pickup of the food scraps. Since food scraps are being taken out of the waste stream there is going to be a cost savings on the tipping fees. It is also going to result in time savings because it has created less trash for the garbage men to pick up, which results in less frequent visits to residents’ houses. As of March 2017, about 350 kits have been sold. There is about 5,900 homes in Scarsdale and it would be great to have them all participate.