“This is a special voluntary recycling program available only at the drop-off sites,” explains Bryan Johnson, Madison’s recycling coordinator. The city has conducted pilot food scraps collection pilots and is now testing drop-off with a launch on May 4. The program is scheduled to last until October 31, 2020. “The food waste collection pilot we did last year gave us the confidence that we can keep the material clean for our local processor,” adds Johnson. “Having collection at the drop-off sites makes it possible for more residents to take part, while also allowing us to still exert the kind of quality control we need to get it right. We may yet do more curbside trials to explore how collection works in other neighborhoods of Madison.”
Collected organics are being hauled to a dairy manure anaerobic digester where they are codigested with manure to produce electricity and compost. Items allowed to be recycled include fruits and vegetables, dairy products, coffee grounds and baked goods. If households are uncertain whether an item is allowed, they can consult an app designed by Betterbin. At the drop-off sites, residents empty material into orange-lidded carts. Before they dump the carts into the truck to haul material to the digester, staff at the drop-off sites remove any obvious contaminants. Once emptied into the truck, they’ll check what tumbles out for any issues as well as try to remove remaining contaminants.