A Pleasantville committee will informally introduce a new program for village residents next week to recycle food scraps, the latest municipality to launch or consider composting in Westchester.
PleasantvilleRecycles will launch the program Oct. 5, said Kim Turner, who leads the initiative.
“We see the benefits of getting out of the landfill waste stream,” said Turner. “Right now, Pleasantville waste goes to an incinerator in Peekskill, which doesn’t burn efficiently.”
To get the program up and running, Pleasantville’s Department of Public Works at 1 Village Lane has re-purposed the site to house bins that will be used in the collection of food scraps on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Composting kits can be purchased from the village for $25. The kit includes a countertop pail, a storage/transportation bin and a roll of 25 compostable bags.
The money derived from the sale of the starter kits goes back to the village. Last spring, officials appropriated $6,000 to cover initial program costs, including signage near the DPW site, banners, 10 large toters – the large stationary bins where residents place their food scraps and biodegradable bags – and the initial 300 starter kits. The program is expected to pay for itself, according to Turner.
Types of scraps that will be accepted for composting are meat, bones, dairy, fish, fruit, vegetables, bread, pasta and cooked and leftover food. The scraps will be collected by Suburban Carting Company, which will take them to the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, a commercial composting facility with stations in New Paltz and Kingston.
“We’ve had a great response from people who are interested,” said Turner, who has collected more than 100 names of those wanting the starter kits. “It’s not essential for folks to use the starter kit; they can bring food scraps in any kind of container.”
Many cities and communities throughout the United States have food scrap programs.
In Westchester, Scarsdale’s composting program is the one that the Turners reached out to for guidance.
“We first started talking to Scarsdale about two or three years ago,” Turner said. “They’ve been terrific partners.”
After about three years, Scarsdale’s food scrap program was able to be included in curbside pickup.
“Our plan for now is to have an additional drop-off day for food scraps,” Turner said.
Locally, the Town of New Castle has a food scrap program in place and the Village of Mount Kisco is also considering one.
After the program’s soft opening on Oct. 5, PleasantvilleRecycles plans a more formal rollout in November. Informational sessions are planned to be held at the Mount Pleasant Public Library and in front of Key Food. Starter kits will be sold at the Pleasantville Farmer’s Market on Saturday, Oct. 12 where a village employee will accept check payments. For now, payment is accepted only by check, made payable to the Village of Pleasantville, which can be dropped off at the office of the village administrator and village clerk, on the third floor of Village Hall during business hours.
“We’ve been sensing the need to get involved with saving the planet,” Turner explained. “There are so many different ways to do that. (My husband) Dan and I tried to compost in the backyard and we could see how much food is wasted. Recycling food scraps is such a simple and easy way to make a difference.”
In 2010, the Natural Resources Defense Council estimated that 40 percent of the food in the U.S. goes uneaten and ends up in the garbage. The USDA’s Economic Research Service has found that 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels translates into 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food.
For more information about Pleasantville’s food scrap program, visit www.pleasantvillerecycles.org/foodscraps.html.
Types of Food to Be Accepted for Pleasantville’s Composting Program
- Fruits and Vegetables (remove stickers, bands, ties)
- Meat and Poultry (including bones)
- Fish and Shellfish (including shells)
- Dairy Products
- Bread and Pasta
- Rice and Grains
- Egg Shells
- Chips and Snacks
- Nuts and Seeds
- Leftover, Spoiled and Expired Food (including cooked food)
- Coffee Grounds (including paper filters)
- Tea Bags (no staples)
- Paper Towels and Napkins
- Cut Flowers
- Compostable Bags (no plastic bags)
Items That Will Not Be Accepted
- Plastic bags, plastic packaging and wrappers are never allowed in the bins. Plastic does not biodegrade and would contaminate the compost. Use only compostable bags, paper bags or no bags.
- Baby/Hand wipes are not allowed in the bins. They are synthetic, do not biodegrade and will contaminate the compost.
- Pet waste