DPW Launches Food Waste Drop-off Pilot Program

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The Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) is pleased to announce a pilot program for residential food scrap collection for composting in Baltimore City. This will be the first time that the City will be hosting such a program at its Residential Drop-Off Centers. The pilot will launch on Monday, July 12, 2021.

“This pilot program is essential and necessary to propel Baltimore towards a path of zero waste, and I commend Director Mitchell and the Department of Public Works for making this a reality,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Creating innovative sustainability practices for Baltimoreans today will pave the way for a greener and healthier tomorrow.”

Food scraps make up 25 percent of the residential waste stream in Baltimore according to a recent sort of residential trash conducted under the Less Waste, Better Baltimore planning process. Less Waste, Better Baltimore is the master plan that outlines a clear and realistic future vision for improving the City’s solid waste recycling program and operations, over both the near- and long-term, to maximize waste reduction, reuse/repair, recycling, and sustainable management of materials. This pilot program will allow residents to bring their food scraps to locations for composting.

“Developing new and innovative programs to increase waste diversion is a top priority for Mayor Scott and the Department of Public Works,” said DPW Director Jason W. Mitchell. “We are excited to make Residential Drop-Off Centers available for food scrap collection for composting, for the first time. Thank you to NRDC for their continued partnership on reducing waste in Baltimore and for the essential grant that will fund this critical new pilot program.”

The project is funded by a grant agreement with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) as part of the Food Matters Regional Initiative. The partnership between the City and NRDC seeks to implement projects to advance food waste prevention, food rescue and composting.

“This exciting, new program shows the City of Baltimore’s ongoing commitment in tackling food waste and climate change,” notes Madeline Keating, City Strategist at NRDC. “Baltimore has been an incredible partner in the Food Matters Regional Initiative, a program designed to implement projects to advance food waste prevention, food rescue, and composting. And, their work serves as an example of ways other cities can strengthen their efforts in learning about and reducing food waste.”

The pilot with run for three to four months, depending on participation, at DPW Residential Drop-Off sites throughout the city. These sites are currently known for accepting bulk items, recycling, scrap metal, electronics, and more for waste management and are primed to manage the added organic waste. Hours and addresses for each site can be found on the DPW website: https://publicworks.baltimorecity.gov/solid-waste/drop-off.

"Food scrap collection efforts began at the Baltimore Farmers Market in the summer of 2019 through the City's partnership with the NRDC. DPW's residential food scrap collection pilot is the next iteration of our waste reduction efforts,” said Department of Planning Director Chris Ryer. “This pilot will expose more Baltimore residents to the benefits of composting and advance the waste reduction goals of the 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan."

Accepted materials will include fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, grains and bread, coffee grounds, and tea bags. These are the same materials accepted at the food scrap drop-off sites at the JFX Farmers’ Market and the 32nd Street Farmers’ Market.

Compost Crew, a Maryland-based company, won the open bid for the services of a food scrap hauler. They will collect the material from the five drop-off centers and transport them to Prince George’s County Organics Composting Facility to be composted.

 

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