To help reduce the amount of food waste being sent to landfills, the City of Bowling Green, Ohio launched a 6-month pilot residential food scraps drop-off program in March 2021. The city worked with GoZero, a food scraps collection service, to place 64-gallon containers behind its Public Works garage, near the public yard trimmings drop-off site. The pilot was due to expire in September, but was extended by the City Council through the end of 2021. A request is being made to fund the program in 2022; annual cost is estimated at about $5,500.
Accepted materials include all food scraps, soiled paper towels and napkins, and greasy pizza boxes. GoZero brings the food scraps to the Andre Farms composting facility in Wauseon, Ohio. To kick off the pilot, the City of Bowling Green made 5-gallon buckets with lids available to the first 350 residents who requested one. The buckets contained educational materials and a label displaying the list of acceptable food waste. In return, these residents were asked to periodically provide feedback on the pilot program. An article in the Sentinel Tribune (9/22/21) about the City Council meeting extending the pilot reported “a survey of program participants, of whom 128 responded, 68% said they visited the drop-off site weekly.”
Bowling Green has 11,374 households; all have access to the food scraps drop-off site. The city distributed 280 5-gallon buckets (some residents use their own container) and estimates about 300 to 350 households use the site. As of early September 2021, about 12.5 tons of food scraps had been collected for composting.