Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project


Department of Public Services

SEEDS Ecology & Education Centers


(231) 922-4900

Project Timeline

Date to be determined

In 2022, the City Commission adopted Goals and Objectives identified climate as a strategic priority with a goal to address climate within all of our City priorities, goals, policies, and actions. In 2023, the City will launch a pilot Compost and Food Waste Reduction project. SEEDS Ecology & Education Centers will support the project with processing management, logistics, oversight, and aid with the selection of interested vendors through RFP hauling contracts as well as food waste source identification.

"This pilot program is intended to augment the City's current composting program and begin to bring together the pieces needed for a successful small scale food composting system with the hope of inspiring/initiating future efforts within the city and the community. The end product being quality compost, could be used by City DPS Parks Division or donated back by the city to support the hauling agreements and waste source producers.”

Frank Dituri, Department of Public Services Director

Currently, the City provides curbside seasonal leaf pick up and annual brush pick up for its residents. Materials are taken to the City’s Keystone facility for composting. The organic material is supplemented by materials from the County-operated brush drop-off. Finished compost products are used by the City for its public lands, parks and green spaces and any remaining material is sold for bulk purchasing.

“The community appetite for adding food waste into their recycling options is exponentially growing. Solving this challenge for our rural region will require multiple solutions at multiple scales. The City's soon-to-be-installed "in-vessel" system is a fully contained solution that is ideal for urban environments. Seeing this equipment in town will make for a fun and engaging outreach tool to help tell the story about the untapped value in our garbage.”

Sarna Salzman, SEEDS Executive Director

Program Purpose

The purpose of the program is start to provide some City residents and businesses with easy access to more organic material pickups, especially including food waste. Further, monitoring the associated reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions from organic material diverted from landfills into composting used these toward the City’s Carbon Neutral Target. It is anticipated that, when the system is working to max capacity, the Greenhouse Gas Emissions diverted from the landfills will be equivalent to eliminating twelve cars on the road in a one year time period.

Program implementation is in process and will include equipment, management processes development, and outreach.  The purchase and hosting of the 20-yard “In-Vessel” composter will be able to annually process close to 150 tons of food waste, the equivalent of 2 and a half 64 gallon totes). The end product being quality compost, could be donated by the City to support food pantry gardens and community gardens, or used in City parklands, or could be sold for its retail value.

Barriers to Achieving Vision

  • Capacity to host composting facilities that can accept food waste. Where is the ideal location for a processing system that can accept community-scale organics?
  • An understanding of the ‘addressable market’ for services. How big is the market appetite for additional hauling services and also for finished compost products?
  • Community partners and/or vendors who can ensure high quality services without burdening City staff and staff capacity. The City does not have the equipment nor the capacity to provide additional hauling services; similarly it is lacking expertise and equipment for food waste composting

Current Goals & Objectives 2023-2024

The City’s DPS Department successfully wrote and was awarded a 2-year USDA grant to pilot a Compost and Food Waste Reduction project funded by the American Rescue Plan Act that can begin as soon as it is authorized by the City Commission and will continue through 2024. The deliverables for this grant include:

  1. Purchasing and hosting a 20-yard “In-Vessel” composter. This containerized system will be approximately the same size and shape as a shipping container and be able to annually process up to 60 tons of food waste. Advantages of In-Vessel systems is that they are fully contained, relatively tamper proof, and process waste materials very quickly keeping the operation relatively odorless.
  2. Providing and supplying sufficient “brown matter” in the form of woodchips.
  3. Partnering with SEEDS Ecology & Education Centers to support City staff capacity to manage, monitor, and train others as requested in the processing systems. Also to facilitate the distribution of the processed product to City-authorized end-users. Finally, to support the development and implementation of related outreach and information campaigns.
  4. Partnering with one or more organics waste hauler to supply the food waste material, focusing on those that will service City residents and/or businesses.


Project total is $323,428. $255,396 of federal funds plus a 27% City in-kind match of $68,032

Federal Funds:

Equipment = $136,360 (all-inclusive in-vessel system, S&H, installation, basic training)
Supplies = $4,800 (including loading containers)
Contractual Total = $114,236
Site Prep = $69,536 (concrete pad, electric, sorting table & shed)
SEEDS services = $39,700 (coordination support, processing support &monitoring, outreach)
Evaluation consultant = $5,000 (LEAN-style process efficiency evaluation)

In-kind Match equivalent to $68,032:

City Personnel = $15,432 (including DPS, Engineering & Communications staff)
Site Planning, permitting, fees = $4,000 Use of City equipment = $9,000
Land lease = $21,600 (where the in-vessel system is staged)
Donation of finished compost valued at = $18,000