[12/29/21 Roc City Compost Tent, David Kramer with banner. Photo: Nylissa Hawkins. All other photos by David Kramer]
There is always something new at Cobb’s Hill. This year, I’ve often seen the ROC City Compost Pilot Program (BELOW) tent next to the Lake Riley Lodge, located near the entrance of Cobb’s Hill Park, at the corner of Culver Road and Norris Drive. Yesterday I finally took a closer look. (SEE ENTIRE COBB’S HILL SERIES AT END)
I met two enthusiastic compost workers. Courtland Akime is in Ground Equipment Operations for the Rochester Department of Environmental Services. Nylissa Hawkins is a D.E.S. intern, studying Environmental Sustainability at Monroe Community College. Every Wed and Saturday between 35 and 50 people drop off their food waste and pick up compost corresponding to the weight of what they brought. About 1000 people have signed up for the pilot program that has locations at Cobb’s Hill and Genesee Valley Park.
Nylissa is particularly ebullient, seeming to know the name of each composter. She noticed that Rodney had his hair cut since last time, commenting that he looked younger. Appreciating the attention, Rodney promptly added some muffins to the stack of treats others had given Nylissa and Courtland. Nylissa remembered that Andrea Jordan brought 19 pounds on her very first visit. Of course, Nylissa knew the record received and returned: 74 lbs.
At the same time, Courland provided the muscle as he moved each filled container onto the city truck.
While I was there, a steady stream of composters came and went, each committed to both saving the environment and money. The pilot program is a great success.
What is composting?
Composting is the practice of separating organic waste (food waste and more) from regular land-fill bound household garbage so that it can be processed into a nutrient-rich material (compost) that can improve soil quality. After preparing or enjoying a meal, food scraps from your plate and cutting board (and more) can go into a compost bin provided by the City. By separating your food scraps at home, you are helping to send less waste to the landfill and instead recycle it into compost so that we can create a healthier environment for everyone.
Rochester’s Community-wide Climate Action Plan recommends the implementation of an organics collection and composting program to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and, as a result, reduce landfill greenhouse gas emissions (methane) that worsen climate change. Through composting, food scraps can be turned into nutrient-rich soil that can be used for gardening and potting household plants that filter oxygen in our homes. The ROC City Compost Pilot program is part of the City’s larger Food Waste Reduction, Donation and Organics Recycling Program. The City of Rochester believes that “Food Is Treasure” and that we can turn “trash” into treasure. Learn more about the City’s Food Waste Prevention, Donation and Organics Recycling program and “Food Is Treasure” Food Waste Education Guide here.
How does the ROC City Compost Pilot program work?
1. Sign-up or call 311 to participate in the program.
UPDATE: The ROC City Compost Pilot program has reached capacity and is no longer accepting new sign-ups. Thank you to all those who signed up to participate in the pilot. We look forward to seeing you at one of the weekly drop-off locations.
2. You will receive confirmation email along with a brief survey.
3. Complete the survey to receive a toolkit of materials (program guide, acceptable materials list, drop-off locations and schedule, small countertop bucket, larger collection bucket, and biobag liners for your bucket).
4. Follow the guidelines in your toolkit to collect food waste in your bucket.
5. Every week, bring your large bucket of food scraps to one of the City’s drop-off locations (see below).
6. At the drop-off location, City staff will sign you in, weigh your bucket of food waste, empty it and hand it back to you so that you can continue to collect food waste and drop-off on a weekly basis. The collected food waste will be transported to a processing facility to be recycled into compost.
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