Portland has kicked off a year-long food composting pilot program, in which residents can drop off food scraps at five locations across the city.

Food scraps, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat and bones, can be dropped off at anytime at the North Street Community Garden, Boyd Street Community Garden, Clark Street Community Garden and Libbytown Community Garden or at Riverside Recycling Facility Mondays through Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“By offering a compost program, we’re providing residents with a way to reduce their environmental footprint while reducing the number of city trash bags they need to buy,” said Mayor Kate Snyder, adding that food scraps and organic matter make up close to 40% of residential waste each week.

Data from the program will be shared with the University of Maine’s Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, so researchers can help evaluate the environmental and budgetary benefits of the food waste collection.  The city’s sustainability office will also work with the Mitchell Institute and Maine Department of Environmental Protection to promote the Food Recovery Hierarchy, an effort that diverts edible food to feed people or animals or for composting before unwanted food is sent to a waste-to-energy plant or landfill.

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