The City of College Park is looking to introduce a compost pickup service for residents in an effort to divert food scraps from the landfill.
Members of the College Park City Council discussed the new program during a work session Tuesday night, following a presentation from Robert Marsili, director of the city’s public works department.
The service would offer curbside pickup of food scraps for residents who sign up. Residents could purchase either a five-to-eight-gallon bucket for $20 or a 12-gallon rolling bin for $35 from the city to use for collection.
Three years ago, the city piloted a compost program that allowed residents to collect their own scraps and drop them off at several drop-off locations. Since April 2019, residents have composted 75 tons of food waste through this program, according to city documents.
“They have saved the city 75 tons of material that would’ve otherwise gone to the landfill,” Marsili said. “That is quite an effort, and we appreciate that very much from our residents.”
The city sends the food scraps to the Prince George’s County Organics Composting Facility through a local vendor, where the material is turned into compost.
With the new collection service, Marsili said the city will begin rollout once about 175 to 200 residents sign up, and he hopes 600 residents will participate by the end of the first year.
“One of the most important things that we exercise here over the next year or two is to create that change in how we treat our trash and how we can save the environment really without throwing everything into the trash can,” Marsili said.
Council members discussed subsidizing the cost of the collection bins to incentivize residents to sign up.
“I’m a big advocate of there always being an option for financial aid for something like this,” District 1 council member Kate Kennedy said.
Mayor Patrick Wojahn said there seemed to be a consensus on subsidizing half of the cost of the containers for the first year of the program.
District 2 council member Llatetra Esters said she is excited for the program.
“We compost in our home and the importance of that is huge so thank you for leading this effort,” Esters said. “I look forward to people participating and want to participate myself.”