City to launch pilot program for food recycling | Haverhill

HAVERHILL – The city will use a $ 49,000 state dividend recycling program grant to launch a pilot program in which organic waste such as food will be made into compost or converted to energy.

Gunther Wellenstein, the city’s solid waste manager, said about 25% of residential waste is organic material, including food waste such as banana peels, apple cores, and scraped peas and carrots. plates as well as garden waste such as leaves and grass.

“Every ton of waste we collect from the curb is weighed in Covanta and then goes into the incinerator,” he said. “Not only is it expensive, but it is in the interest of the state to eliminate organic material as well as recyclable material.

Participating residents would be asked to keep their food waste in specific containers and take it to the recycling center on Primrose Street each week, where the waste will then be transferred to a vendor who will convert it to compost or energy through the use of an anaerobic digester, such as the one Vanguard Renewables operates at Crescent Farm in Bradford.

The program could be launched next spring.

“We want to make sure that we get approval from the mayor and council, and we would seek permits from the Board of Health and authorization from the Mass. DEP,” Wellenstein said.

The goal is to reduce the amount of trash going to Convanta, which charges the city $ 65 a tonne, he said.

“We already have around 600 visitors to the recycling center on Wednesdays and Saturdays who drop off grass, leaves and brush as well as items such as propane tanks and tires, so it would be a good idea to combine the trips.” , did he declare. “There are communities like Hamilton and Wenham that have already extended this to a curbside program for weekly food waste pickup. There are cities that are years ahead of us.

Wellenstein said previous recycling grants paid for a new digital bulletin board at DPW, depositing plastic (film) bags at the recycling center, sending 2022 recycling calendars to around 24,000 households, extending from the television depot to the recycling center and the provision of compost bins, 22 gallon recycling bins and orange overflow garbage bags, all at a reduced price for residents.

“We have also purchased 80 backyard composting bins and plan to purchase another 80,” he said, noting that the city pays $ 50 each for the bins and sells them for $ 25 each.

“The pilot program will come at a cost, as we may have to install a rodent-proof receptacle for food waste and we will have to pay an approved supplier for the pickup,” he said. “Yes, it may incur additional costs, but you are removing materials from the waste stream and landfills. “

The grant will also cover awareness and education on textile (clothing) diversion, before a state waste ban is enforced after November 1, 2022.