How One County Government Diverts Food Waste to Generate Revenue

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman speaks at a local elementary school this week.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman speaks at a local elementary school this week. Howard County MD / YouTube

Featured eBooks

The Financial Management Challenge
Cyber Threats: Preparing States and Localities
Issues in City and County Management
 

Connecting state and local government leaders

“[F]ood scrap collection demonstrates that simple ideas can produce big results,” says one county executive in Maryland.

Food scrap waste diversion has been gaining momentum around the nation. From Seattle, where composting is mandatory for city residents, to Minneapolis, where curbside organics pickup is being introduced , to New York City, which is turning food waste into energy , waste-diversion programs have been popping up.

A pilot project in Howard County, Maryland, is now expanding. This week, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman traveled to local elementary school that has been collecting food scraps to announce that the pilot project there would be expanding across the street to a middle school.

“Since starting this program in August, this one school has helped divert four tons of waste from our landfill,” Kittleman said, according to a statement. “It makes sense for these students to be able to continue their sustainability efforts as they move on to middle school. Their support for food scrap collection demonstrates that simple ideas can produce big results.”

It also produces revenue for the county and lowers costs, since food-scrap diversion is cheaper than hauling away regular household waste.

Howard County, located southeast of Baltimore, offers curbside food scrap collection to 15,000 households, according to a county press release . Up to 400 tons of waste material is diverted from landfills to composting, which the county sells as mulch, topsoil and other byproducts. The program generated $60,000 in revenue for the county.