DeKalb County Health Department “Food Scrap Collection Pilot”

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The DeKalb County Health Department, the City of DeKalb and Waste Management – DeKalb are sponsoring an organic waste collection pilot in DeKalb. The pilot project will start in early May and continue until landscape waste collection ends in November. Selected residential household participants reside between the boundaries of Dresser Road, 1st Street, Hillcrest and Normal with the addition of Eden’s Gardens.

Organic waste includes food scraps and landscape waste. Although landscape waste is already collected city wide, this pilot will add food scraps to further reduce waste going to the landfill. Food scraps can now be managed as a resource instead of wasted. When food scraps can naturally biodegrade, they turn into compost. Using food scraps to make compost returns vital nutrients to our soil and saves water.

For the pilot, the County requests that participants in the selected area separate food scraps from their garbage. The Health Department will sponsor the fees for the pilot and will give participants a 2- gallon bucket to store food scraps. This bucket will be dumped into a 64-gallon cart, provided by Waste Management. Residents can put their yard debris and food scraps into the 64-gallon cart. Adding food scraps to yard waste will help to keep the container cleaner and reduce smells.

This pilot program originated from the 2014 Zero Waste Task Force Report. The DeKalb County Board commissioned the Zero Waste Task Force to reduce waste going to the landfill. Their goal was to find ways to send nearly zero waste from DeKalb County residents to the landfill by 2034. The Task Force considered removing food scraps from our waste as the most important area to address. The results of the pilot will be tracked to determine if curbside food scrap collection is feasible in the County.

The success of the program is based on resident participation and no contamination placed in the carts. Residents are only allowed to put landscape waste and food waste (this includes meat, dairy, vegetables, fruits and grains) in their containers. No glass, metal or aluminum containers, plant plastic containers, food packaging, plastic wrap or plastic bags should place in the carts. Contamination impacts the compost quality and may render it unusable.

For more information, please contact Michelle Gibson at 815-748- 2408 or email recyclemailbox@dekalbcounty.org

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