On November 13, 2023 the Mansfield Town Council approved three new services for residents, all intended to reduce waste, which is a priority in Mansfield. The first option rewards residents who generate low volumes of trash, and the other two deal with handling food waste and promoting composting.
Once-Per-Month Trash and Recycle Collection
The first new service is a once-per-month trash and recycle collection option. For residents who barely fill a 20-gallon trash container every week or use the Transfer Station infrequently for trash disposal, they can now opt to have their recyclables and trash emptied one time a month curbside. The cost is $4.00 per month, just one quarter the cost of the weekly 20-gallon trash service.
Food waste accounts for 22% of waste deposited into landfills, according to State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). To help Mansfield residents trim their trash, the Town is now also offering two new options for handling food scraps. Currently resident options for handling food scraps are backyard composting (the most environmentally sound option) or bringing them to the Transfer Station for composting in the leaf pile. Two more options have just been added - curbside food scrap collection and dehydrating food scraps at home with a FoodCycler.
Curbside Food Scrap Collection
Blue Earth Compost, a family-owned business based in Hartford, will be providing the curbside food scrap collection service. They have been connecting the loop between food waste and compost for a decade and have collected more than 35 million pounds from dozens of communities.
The program is an optional add-on to trash and recycling services and it will cost $14.75 per month. The Town is offering the first month free to residents to encourage participation. In order to make this service viable, Blue Earth Compost needs at least 100 households to sign up before beginning collection.
Blue Earth will collect the food scraps and haul them to a composting site approved by the DEEP. For now, the material will be brought to Quantum Biopower in Southington, but more local options are being explored. Within 21 days, Quantum converts food scraps into compost, and contains the methane byproduct inside the facility into biogas that generates electricity for the Town of Southington.
Another option for Mansfield residents for reducing food waste is to rent a FoodCycler, which dehydrates food scraps, including meat and most bones. Dehydrating converts scraps into an odorless, dry material that looks like peat moss that can then be sprinkled on lawns, gardens or added to a compost pile. Casella, based in Vermont, has teamed up with a Canadian company called Food Cycle Science to provide the FoodCycler to participating households. The cost is $20 per month to rent the equipment, receive technical support and replacement charcoal filters.
Mansfield pays $115 per ton to have municipal solid waste hauled to the Preston Incinerator. Pulling food waste out of the regular waste stream helps lessen the overall amount of waste that Mansfield throws away. Incinerating food creates greenhouse gasses, and burns off any valuable organic nutrients that are inside of food. Boosting access to composting is a major benefit of these new service options. Compost is a well-known soil type that improves overall soil quality, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, helps to retain water in the soil, and reduces soil erosion.
“By choosing backyard composting, composting at the Transfer Station, using the FoodCycler material to add to soil or participating in curbside food scrap collection, the nutrient cycle is kept intact,” states Mansfield Recycling Coordinator, Virginia Walton. “Mansfield’s commitment to overall sustainability is a part of our culture. We hope that residents will take advantage of these new opportunities that help us connect to our earth.”
Residents can sign up for these new services by going to mansfieldct.gov/setupservice or by calling 860-429-3333 or emailing Virginia Walton, Mansfield Recycling Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a flyer summarizing these food waste options: https://www.mansfieldct.gov/DocumentCenter/View/18381/2-Composting-Options-11-15-23