Canton compost project keeping 120-150 gallons of food waste out of waste stream each week
Friday, November 29, 2019 - 6:06 am

Canton DPW’s Trevor Bombard (right) demonstrates the lid-lifting mechanism as Sustainability Committee member Thomas Gokey deposits food scraps in the new receptacle at the food waste drop-off site on Outer Lincoln Street. Photo submitted by Carol Pynchon.

CANTON -- With help and some ingenuity from Canton’s Department of Public Works, the Village and Town Sustainability Committee continues to tweak and improve the community composting pilot project.

Launched in the spring to encourage residents to keep their food scraps out of the waste stream, the pilot will continue through the winter months.

Many Canton residents have been taking advantage of the opportunity to drop off their food waste at the site on Outer Lincoln Street, next to the Canton Pavilion.

“We’ve been collecting 120 to 150 gallons of food waste a week,” says Village Superintendent Brien Hallahan.

Loads are transported twice a week from the drop-off site to the composting location on the outskirts of the village. Ultimately, fully composted, rich, fertile compost will be available to residents for use in their yards and gardens.

“People are very enthusiastic about the project,” says Village Trustee Carol Pynchon, a member of the Sustainability Committee. “We’re getting good reports and also suggestions for improvements. The DPW crew has been flexible and innovative in helping us refine our practices for ease of use and transport.”

Most recently, a new receptacle was purchased at the recommendation of the DPW crew.

“We think the new one is easy to access for users and it works well for us to haul over to the compost site,” explains DPW crew member Trevor Bombard. “The lid is easy to lift, but we also rigged a handle and pulley system that holds the lid open if users need both hands to unload. We hope this makes it easier for everyone.”

Bombard added that the system should work well with the arrival of colder temperatures, snow, and ice. “We will do our best to keep things moving, but ask for everyone’s patience as we also work to keep roads plowed and tackle other winter priorities.”

In the event of substantial snow or ice, the drop off site may not be immediately accessible.

Once food scraps have been dumped in the bin, users are instructed to add a scoop of wood chips – located next to the bin – on top of the food to aid the composting process.

“We are also asking people to begin recording their drop offs on a clip board located on the wall of the shed so we can capture use data. This will be helpful as we evaluate the success of the pilot and look for ways to improve the process,” says Pynchon.

Kyle Miller, Recycling Coordinator for the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC), met with Canton’s Sustainability Committee and participated in the project tour and demonstration.

“Canton is ahead of the curve with this project,” he said. “They’re learning a lot as they go, and this will be a good model for other North Country communities looking to keep their food and organic scraps out of the waste stream,” said Miller.

More about the pilot project and what can be composted can be found at https://tinyurl.com/sxv8gnc. No paper or plastic is permitted.

To learn more about this and other Sustainability initiatives, everyone is welcome to attend Committee meetings held at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month.

The next meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 10. Visit www.cantonny.gov for more information.