Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 15
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
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New Food Waste Composting Program Promises Perks for Township Residents

Ellen Gilbert

Princeton Township will be one of the first municipalities in the country to offer food waste composting when, starting this June, 1,000 Princeton Township families will be participating in a new organic curbside waste recycling program.

To be part of the three-month pilot program, residents will need to switch to Central Jersey Waste and Recycling for their trash and recycling removal.

The plan is to have Central Jersey Waste pick up solid waste one day a week, with its sister company, Premier Waste Management, coming for organics on a different day.

“There is a ‘fee,’ if you can call it that,” said Recycling Coordinator Janet Pellichero in a recent interview. “Organics and trash will be picked up weekly for $25 per month, which should be lower than current collection fees.”

“Central Jersey has assured us,” she added, “that should people face a higher collection fee when they return to their original hauler, they will continue to collect the material at their old collection rate.”

The first 500 homes to sign on will receive a kitchen collector and biodegradable bags to line it. Carts — with wheels — will also be provided. Material will be collected by garbage trucks that run on CNG (compressed natural gas); they are quieter than traditional trucks.

Interested Township residents are encouraged to contact Ms. Pellichero at jpellichero@princeton-township.nj.us.

Township Committee members unanimously approved the project in June of 2010.

“Green-Green”

“This happened in a roundabout way,” said Ms. Pellichero describing the origins of the program. “I was attending a League of Municipalities meeting and got into a conversation with representatives from Premier about ‘non-traditional’ recyclables. We agreed that there needs to be a focus on so many other materials that can and should be recycled,” while also recognizing “the very high cost of disposing of trash here in Mercer County.”

“We talked about how much money residents and municipalities can save on their current garbage fees by removing the organic matter and not having to pay the high tipping fee,” Ms. Pellichero recalled. “From that conversation the pilot program was born!”

“It’s a total green-green initiative,” enthused Central Jersey Waste and Recycling President Frank Fiumeffredo. “It’s a great fit for Princeton,” he added. “Princeton residents are environmentally friendly. Since we’re a local company based in Trenton, we can keep on eye on day-to-day operations.” Noting that the Hun School recently signed on, Mr. Fiumeffredo said that he welcomes more participation by area businesses and schools.

Landfill studies performed by “garbologists” have found banana peels, hot dogs, and heads of lettuce over a decade old still perfectly intact. Recycling organic materials, proponents of the program say, will eliminates the “dry tomb” that a landfill becomes and allow food waste to do what nature intended: biodegrade to a marketable, usable soil amendment. “If it grows, it goes!” they say.

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