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Getting food waste out of garbage stream

FALLS VILLAGE — Falls Village Transfer Station Coordinator Tracey Wilson and resident Leone Young, who has extensive experience in the waste management business, talked about the challenges facing the town and the state in managing the garbage at the David M. Hunt Library on Friday, March 10.

The transfer station started its food waste diversion program last week. Wilson said about 35 people signed up initially.

Residents are given a lightweight black plastic box. The box measures 9 3/4 inches in length, 8 3/8 inches wide, and 8 1/2 inches tall. It is slatted, so air gets through, and has a lid and a carrying handle.

The box is small enough to fit on a kitchen countertop.

Residents also get a starter roll of “bio bags,” biodegradble three-gallon bags that fit in the black box.

Young said that with the closing of the waste-to-energy plant in Hartford last summer, and new landfills unavailable in Connecticut, some 40% of the state’s garbage is being shipped to a massive landfill in Pennsylvania.

Young said 40% of the weight of a typical municipal solid waste load is organic waste, ie. food scraps. Removing food waste will cut the cost of shipping the trash out of state considerably.

On the general recycling front, Wilson said people often think some items are recyclable, but they are not.

Black plastic, used in frozen meals, is a common example of  this, Wilson said.

And single stream recycling, while convenient for consumers by eliminating the sorting of materials, does not mean users can just toss containers in without rinsing them out first.

Wilson said the transfer station crew is happy to answer questions about recycling.

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