Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 28
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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Township Pilot Food Waste Pickup Program Is Going Strong; Pellichero Hopes It Will Last

Ellen Gilbert

Princeton Township’s Organic Food Waste Curbside Pick Up Pilot Program is doing well, but hopes to sign on additional residents in the coming weeks. “We did 3.98 tons of organics the Tuesday after the 4th of July!” enthused Princeton Recycling Coordinator Janet Pellichero. “That is an amazing number for one week, equal to the whole month of June!”

Participants still have the opportunity to reduce their trash, save money, and be part of the first program of its kind in New Jersey. There is a flat $25 monthly fee for weekly collection of both organic and trash containers, which are provided free along with the liners and kitchen containers. Materials are collected by garbage trucks that run on CNG (compressed natural gas), and are quieter than traditional trucks.

The program had been averaging one-and-half-tons a week during its first month. The remarkable number from the post-July 4 pickup, Ms. Pellichero suggested, was a reflection of all the partying that went on that weekend. “Think of it,” she added, “all of that would have otherwise gone into landfill.”

Under the pilot program Premier Waste Management picks up waste on Monday and its sister company, Premier Waste Management, comes for organics on Thursday.

There are, so far, 188 residences participating in the pilot program. The goal is 500, although with only two more months to go, “it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.” Ms. Pellichero reports, however, that they are “signing up people almost every day,” and there’s lots of positive word-of-mouth.

In the meantime, Ms. Pellichero would like to see an “entire community or street/neighborhood become the first to go entirely organic.” Although institutions were not included in the pilot program, the Hun School and Acorn Glen senior residence both opted to emulate the program on their own. Institutional interest is encouraging, said Ms. Pellichero. With greater quantities of recyclables being collected, she hopes that the program will continue beyond the three-month mark. “We want to keep it here.”

“It’s been fun,” said Ms. Pellichero. “A lot of backyard material was collected the first week after that terrible windstorm the first week of June. We’ve gotten many positive responses from people who are looking at their garbage differently. People should know there’s another option available to them.”

“It’s very convenient and it’s really not difficult,” reported program participant Robin Broomer. “I thought it was going to be a lot of effort and sorting, but it doesn’t take much more time out of your day. It’s the socially conscious thing to do.”

Ms. Pellichero is asking current pilot program participants to spread the word, and would like interested residents — and institutions — to contact her directly at the Department of Public Works by calling (609) 688-2566, ext. 1478, or writing to jpel
lichero@princeton-township.nj.us.

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