Making a Difference

January 27th, 2012 | Simcha Weinstein | 1 Comment »

It’s good to see that the idea of “Think Globally, and Act Locally” is alive and well . . . at least in Watervliet, NY. Their new organic waste program launches today and is expected to make a significant difference to the town – both to the environment and the economy.

With a unique organic waste program currently in a trial stage, the city of Watervliet is expecting to decrease the amount of actual garbage sent to the local landfill, which will help save the environment and save the city money.

The first curbside pickup of the pilot Watervliet Organic Waste program (WOW) is set for today. About 35 residents, mainly city employees, are participating in the service but the city would like to include a total of 50 people in the trial program to work out any issues or bugs before eventually offering it to the residents city-wide in several months, said Watervliet Mayor Mike Manning.

According to a recent survey of the participating residents, they are putting much less actual garbage out than before since most items are either going in the recycling bin or in the organic waste bin.

“It’s working out well. And it’s cleaner and easier than we initially expected,” said Manning, who is also participating in the trial that is expected to last about 10 weeks.

Because there is less garbage, the city expects to pay less in landfill tipping fees. About 25 percent in current landfill costs, or $100,000 annually, will likely be saved, said Manning.

Though, the program also comes with an initial price of at least $30 per household for an indoor bin and outdoor bin for the organic waste. The program uses a newly-developed composting and digestion system using an anaerobic digester. The digested compost is recycled and methane gas is captured that could be used for fuel or heating.

Organic waste items include most food items like vegetables or fruits. Trial participants, who are asked to weigh and record the organic waste, use an indoor bin lined with a certain type of bag that is carried out every other week to the outdoor bin. Residents were asked to put out their waste Thursday night and it will be picked up today by a pickup truck.

Your own backyard, your own community – these are great starting points when you want to make a difference. Carry on Watervliet!