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Changes Forthcoming in Food Scraps Recycling Program

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Changes Forthcoming in Food Scraps Recycling Program

Monday, January 11, 2016

List of Acceptable Items Narrowed to Ensure Quality of Finished Product

The Tompkins County Solid Waste Division and Trumansburg-based Cayuga Compost will be implementing changes to the highly-successful food scraps recycling program.

Beginning April 1st, 2016 only food items and paper napkins and paper towels will be accepted, along with compostable bin liners. That means compostable plastics and other food soiled paper – such as all cups and plates – will no longer be collected as part of the food scraps recycling program.

“We understand this narrowing of the list of acceptable items is a major change,” said Bobby Seymour, the Operations Manager at Cayuga Compost. “But the elimination of plastic contaminants in compost will help contribute to sustaining a healthy local environment.”

The County oversees six drop spot locations, and provides free tool kits to residents to encourage their participation.  Combined with what was collected from the business sector, over 3,400 tons of food scraps and other organic materials were diverted from the landfill in 2015. With funding support from the County, Cayuga Compost processes the material into a nutrient-rich soil amendment used by landscapers, farmers and homeowners.

“We are confident these new guidelines will continue to ensure the highest quality compost is being produced with minimal contamination,” said Solid Waste Division Manager Barbara Eckstrom. “There are many confusing items that are mistaken for being compostable that, in reality, are not truly compostable. By clarifying the list of acceptable items, we hope to avoid such confusion,” she said.

Eckstrom added both Cayuga Compost and the Solid Waste Division are available to answer questions and offer support as needed to ensure that material diverted from the landfill is done so in an environmentally safe manner.