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Pilot residential composting program kicks off Friday in Springfield

A red onion that has sprouted
Ashish Choudhary

Residents need to sign up if they want to participate in the program.

The City of Springfield’s Dish to Dirt Food Scraps Drop-off Pilot Program starts Friday, September 29.

Residents can sign up for free to be able to take food waste to any of the city’s recycling centers.

Ashley Krug, market development coordinator for Springfield’s Department of Environmental Services, said food waste is number two on the list of items going to the Noble Hill Sanitary Landfill.

“So, we’ve had a lot of efforts in the past several years to really start to reduce food waste at a lot of different levels following the EPA food waste hierarchy,” she said.

Composting, according to Krug, is something they can do inside their own facilities. There’s been a composting facility at the city’s Yardwaste Recycling site since 1991. But, before, the compost was made up of yard waste and pre-consumer food waste from some area restaurants. The pilot program will accept any food waste from participants.

“Because we operate a large enough facility, we’re going to be able to take things like meat and dairy on as part of that process," she said, "and that’s really just due to the fact that we have the capability of reaching high temperatures needed to cook out any of the pathogens that things like meat and dairy traditionally carry.”

The pilot program is made possible by an approximately $286,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. Krug said they’ll use the money for infrastructure improvements at the Yardwaste Recycling Facility. They’ll put fencing around to keep out wildlife, and they’ve invested in some Cloud-based probes to meet time and temperature requirements.

“Those probes are going to help us to digitally be collecting the temperatures and moisture levels of our compost piles and sending those to our computers,” she said

That will help with efficiency at the site, according to Krug. They’ve also invested in a watering system.

A pilot program running alongside this one is working with businesses and organizations such as COSTCO and Dickerson Park Zoo to collect their compost.

The compost will be available for purchase.
Copyright 2023 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

Michele Skalicky