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City Council considering plan for composting food waste

RIT food waste study.jpg
Rochester City Council is considering a plan to look into composting waste in the City of Rochester. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Rochester City Council is considering a plan to look into composting waste in the City of Rochester.

A letter sent by Mayor Lovely Warren to City Council on August 29 requests authorization for a feasibility study for collecting and composting food waste in the city.

According to the proposal, the study will look into how composting in the city would be done. Potential means and methods will be investigated.

The $80,000 study will be paid for using a $40,000 grant from the NYS DEC and $40,000 from the city's Department of Environmental Services. LaBella Associates was chosen from four companies who submitted proposals to complete the study.

Tom Trabold, head of RIT's Sustainability Department, said nearly one third of all food produced is never consumed by humans. If something can be done with that food waste, it would help the environmental and economy on a local level.

"It should matter to you because of the cost of food waste, it's been estimated that somewhere around $1,500-1,600 in food is wasted per year per American family of four," Trabold said. "So it's not only an environmental issue it's a significant economic issue."

Trabold works at RIT's Golisano Institute for Sustainability. Research being done there focuses on technologies that can be used to do something useful with food waste.

"The two main things that are done with it are to produce compost used for agriculture," Trabold said. "The second option is what we call anaerobic digestion which can be used to produce bio-gas which is similar to natural gas it can be used to run an electric generator."

Human behavior is also studied, including why people waste food to start with, better understanding and labeling of sell by/best by/expiration dates, and other processes.

The study would take approximately two years and would be expected to be done by June 2021.

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