Food Waste Recycling Opportunities Increase In Michigan

Residents and some businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan are now experiencing increased opportunities to recycle and compost food waste and scraps along with other organic waste materials such as grass, leaves, and yard trimmings.

In 2012 when city officials reviewed the municipality’s waste management strategic plan, they realized close to fifty percent of all the city’s garbage was food waste. As a result of this analysis, officials suggested that the city broaden its waste and recycling collection program to include year-round composting for food scraps and table waste. The decision to make this change, along with contracting composting services to a private company, resulted in an immediate savings of four hundred thousand dollars to the city.

Ann Arbor has offered organic yard waste recycling since 2006, as well as seasonal composting services to some neighborhoods, but the step to allow all residents to include unwanted, uneaten, and expired food products into the recycling bin is a substantial one. The new food waste composting program is currently only available to residences, but includes the entire city. While the city is offering free counter-sized containers for composting, individuals can purchase larger carts for $25.

The city is expecting to process over fifteen thousand tons of food waste within the first full year of service. To date, of Ann Arbor’s twenty four thousand eligible residents, thirteen thousand have claimed their free city-provided composting bin.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your city or town is trying to become “greener” and improve recycling while decreasing landfill expenses, try adding food waste or a yard waste collection program. Whether it’s for making compost, landscaping materials, animal feed, or organic-to-energy, there’s value to be found in what many consider to be garbage!