To the Editor:
Did you know that the Green Bucket Curbside Food Waste Program that many Township residents have been using is available now to all Princeton residents, even before consolidation takes full effect?
I have recently signed up, even though I do have space in my yard in the Borough for a small compost pile into which I put leaves, grass clippings and selected kitchen waste, such as banana peels, apple cores, egg shells and certain vegetable trimmings that decompose quickly. But this leaves items such as meat, poultry and fish leftovers, including bones, potato peelings, tea bags, used napkins and paper towels, and pizza boxes that go in the garbage and from there to the landfill.
The beauty of the Green Bucket Curbside Food Waste Program is that all these items and many more — coffee grounds and filters, pizza boxes, garden trimmings and weeds, dead houseplants, small branches, and even biodegradable forks, knives, plates and spoons can be collected in the special Green Bucket provided by the hauler and picked up at the curb once a week for composting. Comprising a huge amount of what we throw away (or wish would be taken away), the material is piled together and covered with a special cover so that it gets very hot and becomes usable compost in a relatively short period of time.
Recycling of newspapers and other clean paper goods as well as plastic and glass items continues with pickup once every other week. One item that can be recycled but is not currently on the curbside pickup list is plastic bags, but they can be taken to McCaffrey’s any time for that purpose.
Items that are not recyclable or compostable include Styrofoam and packing peanuts, bulky metals, plastics marked #3-#7, diapers, pet waste and litter, lumber and fencing, aluminum foil, feminine hygiene products, baking and microwave trays, and garden nursery containers.
The cost for curbside recycling is currently $20 a month. Township residents pay an extra $10 a month for trash pickup (both collected weekly). Borough residents may balk at curbside recycling because traditionally they have not had to pay for garbage pick-up, the costs of which are absorbed in the Borough budget. But there is a strong possibility that if enough people sign up for it in the coming months that the costs could be reduced and absorbed by the new consolidated Princeton budget. Currently there are some 350 households enrolled, and the hope is to double this number in the coming weeks.
The savings in terms of landfill space and municipal trash disposal costs are considerable. In six months since the program began, some 60 tons of waste have been kept out of a landfill, which equals $7,500 in municipal trash disposal costs.
To make it easy to collect your compostable waste you are given a small container that can sit on a countertop or in a cupboard with biodegradable bags to go inside it, as well as the big green container marked “Organic Waste Only” that has wheels and a lid and which you put at the curb once a week. These items are free.
I remember how eagerly Princeton residents embraced recycling when it first became available. Now it is time for us to embrace curbside composting, particularly when it is so easy to do and saves cost as well as landfill space.
To sign up call Janet Pellichero in the Township Public Works Department, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (609) 688-2566.