OCRRA taking large suppliers' food scraps and making compost

Food deemed unedible for humans and animals used in program

CAMILLUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - It used to all end up in the trash but not as much anymore since OCRRA started working with local haulers to turn spoiled and outdated food into something useable.

OCRRA is seeing boxes of unopened chocolate chip cookies, too old for store shelves and eating but still useable in a much different form being added to the mix.

Workers from Arc of Onondaga are in charge of de-packaging all the food scraps that come into OCRRA’s Amboy compost site when necessary.

OCRRA Public Information Officer Kristen Lawton says, "We really did a study of the community's trash and discovered that close to 15 percent of our trash is actually food scraps and about 50 percent of that can be reprocessed into compost and is recoverable."

The pile for the day includes things like stuffed shells, cheesecake, muffins, cookies and buckets of garlic all recalled, spoiled or just otherwise inedible for humans and animals.

Lawton tells NewsChannel 9, "And then it gets mixed with yard waste and then we put it into piles where we pump oxygen through the piles which helps speed up the decomposition process."

Those food scraps in about 60 to 90 days, mixed with some yard waste, become nutrient rich compost that you can buy at the site or at about 30 home and garden centers around the area.

"It's a material that a lot of gardeners, they call it black gold, it's a great product for enhancing your gardens."  Lawton says.

It’s all the result of great partnerships with local haulers that pick up these food scraps from schools, colleges, grocery stores and other business.

OCRRA took in about 6,400 tons of food scraps last year and hopes to grow it even more this year. 

The head of Arc of Onondaga’s Monarch Division, Vincent Darden says, "It’s all about recycling and we're happy to be able to give back and recycle and be part of that.  OCRRA does a lot for the community and environment and we're just happy to be a part of it."

Besides de-packaging, the food Arc of Onondaga workers also bag the compost in the spring.

Click here for more information on how and where to buy the OCRRA Compost.

Go here for information on the different passes and prices to buy at the Amboy Compost Site.


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