Metropolis of Pittsburgh: Metropolis receives USDA 90,000 grant for neighborhood composting pilot initiatives
PITTSBURGH, PA (Oct. 7, 2021) The city of Pittsburgh has received a $ 90,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a pilot project to reduce compost and food waste in the community. The grant will fund a two-year pilot project to develop and test strategies for planning and implementing community plans to reduce compost and food waste, starting with community facilities and events.
The city’s pilot project will focus on collecting research on composting in the region and implementing three composting solutions to see which ones are feasible for city operations to scale up later – public composting at city events, one mechanical Composters and traditional composting methods in urban facilities.
The first year of the pilot will focus on conducting exploratory research on food waste and composting in the greater Pittsburgh area to understand the programs, education, businesses and resources in place to manage food waste commercially and at the community level. The city will use this information to design pilot projects that complement and support the growth of the food waste systems already in place in the region.
The second year of the pilot focuses on testing new composting options in city facilities and events. As part of this, as part of a competitive application process, the city will seek a local, licensed composting company to manage an organic compost stand at the city-sponsored farmers’ markets, where visitors can bring their compost and vendors can assist with converting products to “compost-compatible” “to host zero waste markets.
The city will also be testing two in-house food composting facilities at a recreation center and a senior center, both of which are running food programs, in the hope that the projects will be able to accept community compost. The Philips Recreation Center in Carrick will use a traditional composting method. Traditional composting requires the layering of two types of organic materials (“brown” such as dried garden waste, leaves, shredded cardboard; and “green” such as fruit scraps, vegetables, clippings), which over time break down into an earth-like substance used for planting. The composting pilot project is also used for educational programs with young people in the center.
The Homewood Healthy Active Living (Senior) Center will pilot mechanical composting, in which organic and compostable materials are placed in a receptacle, such as a drum or silo, and regularly spun or turned to aid in the breakdown of materials, too earth-like substance to be used for planting.
Although a large-scale city-wide composting program for the city is currently not feasible, this pilot project will be the first step in designing composting options that can be extended to the community as part of the climate protection plan. Composting measures will improve access to compost for agricultural producers, improve soil quality and promote innovative waste management plans for food systems that reduce and divert food waste from landfills.
The project is a collaboration between several municipal departments led by the Department of Sustainability and Resilience of the Ministry of Urban Planning, the Ministry of Parks and Recreation and the Special Events Office and external authorities.
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