Case Study: NEK Pilot Project

Materials & Methods

The seven transfer station facilities that were chosen to be residential food scrap drop-off locations for this pilot were: Brownington/Evansville Recycling Center; Derby Recycling Center; Sheffield/Wheelock Transfer Station; Lyndon Recycling Center; Groton/Ryegate Transfer Station; Glover Recycling Center; and Newport Town Recycling Center. At every residential food scrap drop-off location, a 48-gallon tote(s) was stationed for the collection of food scraps, as well as informational signage that indicated the program, where the tote could be found at the location, and what materials could and could not be placed within the collection tote. The number of totes provided to a transfer station facility was dependent on the volume of food scraps that facility was expected to receive. Each drop-off location was also provided a tote for sawdust storage. Sawdust is an effective medium for capping totes after food scraps have been dumped, thus reducing smell, stagnant liquid, and the presence of vectors like flies and rodents.

Participants were expected to provide contact information upon signing up for the program, with the intention being to track number of active participants, frequency of participation, and other factors such as contamination and customer satisfaction. Each participant received a 5-gallon collection bucket; a “Residential Food Scrap Drop-Off Quick-Start Guide” that explained the program and how to successfully participate; and an informational pamphlet/magnet that gave directions on how to properly separate food scraps. A “NEK Residential Food Scrap Drop-Off” video was also developed to supplement the informational materials provided to participants, and to provide additional background information on the intentions of the program.

The five-gallon bucket and informational material that each program participant received. HCC’s primary responsibilities for this pilot project were to develop all outreach materials, including: the “Residential Food Scrap Drop-Off Guide”, the “NEK Residential Food Scrap Drop-Off” video, and any other marketing materials; package all participant material, including the 5-gallon collection buckets; provide training to transfer station attendants on how to effectively implement the drop-off program; and communicate regularly with participants on matters such as the status of the program and the volume of food scraps being diverted. The NEKWMD’s primary responsibilities for this pilot project were to: coordinate with HCC to ensure transfer station attendants received proper training to effectively implement the program; collect the 48-gallon tote(s) at each drop-off location and bring them to the agreed upon compost facility for processing; collect data on the number of 48-gallon tote(s) picked up from a drop-off location each week; and monitor participants via the tracking sheets that HCC developed and provided.

Food waste from NEK transfer stations is hauled by the NEKWMD to a small-scale local composter in Burke. Terrence and Nicole Lapointe of Wise Worm Compost process food scraps from the residential drop-offs as well as food scraps from area businesses and schools. Wise Worm Compost has been operational since 2009 and they continue to expand composting operations and work with HCC to develop their compost infrastructure and techniques. Wise Worm uses about 80% of the compost on their vegetable garden to grow crops for themselves and 6-8 CSA members. They also sell some of their vegetables to a local deli and ski resort. The compost that doesn’t end up on their garden is either sold or traded to fellow gardeners.

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