April 23, 2024 | Collection, Compostable Packaging, Composting, Food Waste

Residential Food Scraps Initiatives In Buffalo

Top: The City of Buffalo launched a year-long curbside food scraps collection pilot in Fall 2023 with close to 1,900 households participating.

The City of Buffalo, New York, isn’t winging it when it comes to residential food scraps collection and composting. About five years ago, the city established a drop-off program for vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, nuts and egg shells at several farmers markets and retailers on a seasonal basis. Over time, permanent locations were established with community partners, which are available year-round. In 2023, 96,600 lbs of food scraps were collected via the drop-off program, reported Bridget Houck, the city’s recycling coordinator, at the New York State Organics Summit held in Buffalo in mid-April. Natural Upcycling, a regional food waste hauler, services the drop-off locations and takes collected material to Buffalo River Compost.

In Fall 2023, the City of Buffalo launched a one-year pilot food scraps curbside collection program, funded with a $200,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Residential homes with three or fewer units are eligible to participate. After the one-year period, the city will evaluate the feasibility of continuing the program. “Participation in this pilot program is not a guarantee of the program continuing or continuing as a no-fee service,” noted the city in an announcement about the pilot launch. Collection was made available in Buffalo’s nine council districts; households had to register to participate. As of April, 1,882 have enrolled in the program (a total of 2,000 can enroll). Participating households received a 12-gallon food scraps tote. All food scraps — excepting meat and bones — are accepted, along with soiled paper and BPI-certified compostable products. Farmer Pirates Compost, LLC — a Buffalo-based food scraps collection service and community composter — was awarded the contract to collect and process the food scraps. Households are serviced weekly on their regularly scheduled garbage day. About 25 tons of food scraps were collected in March 2024.

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