2017-08-25 / In the Know

Food waste pilot program ends on Sept. 7

By Kerry Strout Grantham Special to the Leader

The town of Scarborough will conclude its food waste collection pilot in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood on Thursday, Sept. 7.

For those residents in the Pleasant Hill pilot area, simply leave your food waste carts at the curb and Scarborough staff will come through and collect the carts on Sept. 7 and again on Sept. 14.

Regular trash and recycling collection resumes on Thursday, Sept. 14.

In four months, we have successfully gathered enough data on participation levels and the amount of food waste diverted from disposal. We are listening to feedback and understand that alternating trash and recycle pickup is a challenge for some families in the Scarborough pilot area. Participants in the Pleasant Hill pilot area will also have the opportunity to respond to a mailed survey to share comments about challenges and successes of the pilot. Participation in this survey is very important to ensuring the most accurate conclusions to this pilot program.

The results of this pilot will help us continue research into the best solution for Scarborough residents.

As an unanticipated benefit, there was a 93 percent increase in residential food waste drop-off participation in our three collection sites indicating a strong interest in recovering food waste.

The town will continue to provide these collection sites and encourage all residents to collect food waste and drop them off at: Pine Tree Waste, Maine Veterans’ Home and Walmart.

Because of these efforts, we’ve diverted more than 17,000 pounds of food waste from the garbage. Based on participation, we have valuable insights into the demand and barriers to overcome as we continue to research the best path forward.

We are proud of Scarborough for being an early-adopter and bold innovator with ecomaine in the space of researching and refining the best regional solution for food waste collection.

We will communicate the final outcomes and insight from this pilot program at an upcoming town council meeting. For any questions about the Pleasant Hill food waste collection pilot, please call Kerry Strout Grantham at 730-4049 or email kgrantham@ci.scarborough.me.us.

Kerry Strout Grantham is sustainability coordinator for Scarborough.

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