It's easy to take leftover food at the end of a meal and just toss it in the trash, but getting food waste out of the can and into the right place could play a big role in our state's waste management and help fight climate change.
"This facility, being one of the first, we were very much pioneers in the process of recovering food waste and what it did was we set the stage for folks and communities to consider recycling their food waste,” explains Brian Paganini, the Vice President of Quantum Biopower in Southington. “In Connecticut food waste is the largest portion of our waste that is the least recycled."
But how do you get your food from your home to Quantum Biopower?
The food waste processed in Southington comes from commercial facilities like restaurants, hotels and hospitals. But it also comes from residents' homes by way of Blue Earth Compost in Hartford -- a residential, commercial and event food scrap collection service.
"We can take any kind of food waste,” explained Alex Williams, owner of Blue Earth Compost. "The saying is, 'if it grows it goes.' So anything from the backyard compostable stuff like veggies and fruit scrapes all the way to meat, bones and dairy products. They're all good to go."
For a fee, participating residents receive a four-gallon bucket to fill up and Blue Earth collects it weekly or bi-weekly just like a regular trash day.
"People are at home cooking a lot more, just trying to do something positive for their lives," Williams said.
Trinity College began using Blue Earth Compost in 2018. Prior to that, students would collect food scraps themselves and take them to a local compost garden.
"They could only do so much right it was whatever fit in plastic buckets in their minivan to Knox Park," explained Rosangelica Rodriguez, the Sustainability Coordinator at Trinity College in Hartford.
But when they signed on with Blue Earth, 75,000 pounds of food waste was collected in just one year and it's been growing ever since!
"It starting in our dining facilities and now it's expanding to our residential units on campus and even potentially going to what we call our cultural houses and fraternities so every year it seems like every year more and more students say, 'Oh they have that, we want that too,'” Rodriguez said. “It's one of the positive highlights of the office and one of the good things we can talk about and really highlight and we're excited for. It's part of our tour when people come to campus! So it's a really good thing to do and it's something that the younger generation is really advocating for when they come to see us."