After collecting 90,000 pounds of food and flower waste through its 20-week pilot food scrap collection program in 2015, officials with Emmet County Recycling hope to secure a state grant designed to prevent food waste to divert even more “low-hanging fruit” from their rural Northern Michigan landfill.
Lindsey Walker, recycling outreach for Emmet County Department of Public Works, which operates Emmet County Recycling (ECR), says the successful pilot had a total of 16 restaurants and four flower shops in Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Bay Harbor area participate in the June through October program.
“As we systematically tackle the waste stream, food waste and organics is the next thing,” says Walker. She plans to apply for a Community P2 Grant Program from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to expand her area’s collection and composting pilot to include a broad array of private and public institutions.
The first time state funds have been aimed at incentivizing food waste prevention and reduction efforts, Michigan’s DEQ announced in late December that it will distribute $250,000 in grants. The effort furthers an initiative Gov. Rick Snyder announced in 2014 to double the state's residential recycling rate. Wasted food accounts for more than 20 percent of household trash—more than any other material.