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City of Gainesville to expand residential food-waste composting program

Press release from City of Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Banana peels, coffee grounds, and egg shells are among the everyday kitchen scraps being collected from households participating in the City of Gainesville’s residential food waste composting program.

For Gainesville resident Judith Allen, who signed up when the pilot program began in 2021, it’s easy to fill the bright yellow, 5-gallon bucket.

“We enjoy lots of watermelon and corn this time of year,” she said. “With three adults in our household, we have plenty of scraps for the bucket, and it’s always full by pick-up time.” 

Together, more than 200 households in Gainesville are enrolled in the food waste pilot, with each one generating about seven pounds of discarded food every week. Now, the City hopes to double the number of participating households this summer.

“Residents have really embraced the program and have been the key to its success,” said Tom Strickland, the City’s recycling program coordinator. “All the spoiled produce, stale bread, and moldy fruits and vegetables recycled through this program bring us one step closer to reaching the City’s zero waste goal by 2040,” he said.

Beaten Path Compost picks up the food waste from participating homes each week, as well as from area restaurants and other food-generating businesses, turning it into high-quality compost. The finished product then is sold, in bulk, to gardeners and farmers, providing a nutrient-rich soil additive that enhances water retention and promotes soil aeration, among other benefits.

To date, more than 58 tons of food waste have been diverted from area landfills via the program, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 37 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E).

The pilot initially was funded largely through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For a complete list of pilot neighborhoods, or to sign up for the program, visit GainesvilleFL.gov/FoodWaste.

  • Initially funded by the federal government. How much is now paid by local taxpayers? If we’re paying for it, this is a pet project that should have been cut seeing as how it’s only serving 200 homes.

    They could save money by feeding it to Harvey at the trough.

  • If you have a garden then composting makes sense. I’m not sure about the city collecting compost material…that sounds like a house fly breading program to be honest. I will request one of those free nifty yellow compost buckets for my own use though.

  • Okay. INITIAL grant from the Feds. How much will it cost G’ville taxpayers now?

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