Join our Sustainability Office for a fun-filled Saturday morning, brimming with community building, knowledge sharing and sweet summer treats.

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What better way to kick off the summer season than a food waste recycling event? To celebrate the launch of our new food waste drop off site at Redbank Community Center, the Sustainability Office is hosting an event for South Portland residents to learn about our food waste recycling program, ask questions to program partners such as ecomaine and Agri-Cycle, eat popsicles and grab a free 1-gallon food waste bin.

What: Launching our new food waste drop off site at the Redbank Community Center

Why: To celebrate the expansion of our food waste recycling program and distribute food waste bins (and popsicles)

Where: Redbank Community Center (95 MacArthur Circle West)

When: Saturday, June 25, 9 a.m. to noon (rain date: July 2, 9 a.m. to noon)

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Why recycle food waste?

Forty percent of the food we produce in the U.S. is never eaten, and in Maine, food waste makes up 30 percent of the state’s waste stream. This is the single largest source of waste in the state and contributes to our greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling our food waste through a municipal food waste recycling program ensures that our waste is not only being diverted from entering a landfill, but it being turned into environmentally beneficial outputs.

Certain food waste recycling programs – such as South Portland’s – break down food waste through anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion breaks down organics – such as food waste – in the absence of oxygen. This process occurs in a digester, which is a capped system, meaning the gasses that are produced as a result of this process are captured and then combusted to create environmentally beneficial outputs.

Anaerobic digesters can generate electricity to power, heat, and cool homes. The other outputs can be used as fertilizer and animal bedding. Anaerobic digestion is better for the planet than composting because the digestion process contains all green house gas emissions that decomposition creates. Instead of these emissions entering the atmosphere, they are turned into useful products.

Food waste recycling in South Portland

South Portland offers a free food waste recycling program in partnership with Garbage to Garden, ecomaine, and Agri-Cycle. Residents can pick up a free bin, fill it with food scraps, and drop it off at one of six designated drop-off sites scattered across the city. The food waste is then anaerobically digested and turned into sustainable electricity, farm fertilizer, and animal bedding. This program also provides the option to participate in reduced-rate, curbside collection with Garbage to Garden.

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If you are interested in curbside collection at a reduced rate, contact Garbage to Garden at 207-332-0277 or [email protected]

If you are interested in dropping off your food waste, pick up a free 1-gallon bin Saturday, June 25, at our food waste event in Redbank, at one of our kiosks around the city (Main Library or Community Center) or at the Municipal Services Facility at 929 Highland Ave. (Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

In addition to 1-gallon bins, Municipal Services also has 12-gallon bins available for pick-up free of charge. Once you have your bin, drop off your food waste at one of the drop-off locations scattered throughout the city.

● City Hall (25 Cottage Road)

● Golf Course Maintenance Building (221 Westbrook St.)

● Planning and Development Office (496 Ocean St.)

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● South Portland High School, Upper Parking Lot (along Highland Avenue)

● Redbank Community Center (95 MacArthur Circel West)

● Transfer Station (929 Highland Ave.)

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram and Facebook @soposustainability.

Mia Ambroiggio is a Greater Portland Council of Governments Resilience Corps Fellow serving in the Sustainability Office. She can be reached at [email protected]

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