Princeton to Consider Extending, Expanding Food Waste Recycling

Borough Council is expected to discuss the issue on Tuesday.


Tonight, Princeton Borough Council is expected to discuss continuing the residential Curbside Food Waste Program into 2013.

Currently, about 430 Borough and Township residents participate in the program to send food leftovers into a compost pile, not a landfill. The cost is $240 per year per household.

Under a new two-year proposal, Premier Food Waste Recycling, a division of Central Jersey Waste, would continue the program at roughly $37-$59 per year per household.

Food waste includes, among other things, meat scraps, paper products and vegetable peels. Residents would simply put food waste into a separate curbside container. It’s not only good for the environment; it also costs less than simply throwing everything the trash, Princeton Township Recycling Coordinator Janet Pellichero said.

Tipping fees- or per ton disposal fees- are $125 for trash, but only $46 for organic waste, she said.

“It’s a perfect example of how the municipality is trying to keep costs down and trying to increase the recycling rate,” Pellichero said.

Just as recycling was once new, moving to a food waste recycling program is simply a matter of changing out habits, she said.

“It’s excellent for the environment, it’s truly a no-brainer,” she said. “If you put food in a landfill, it’s literally there for hundreds of years.”

In contrast, recycled food waste goes to a facility in Delaware and 80 days later, it’s compost- ready to be sold and reused.

Premier Food Waste Recycling can accommodate as many residents as want to sign up for the program, but Borough Administrator Bob Bruschi said the muncipality hopes to cap the number of participants at about 1,000 for the first year as they work to implement a program roughly double the size it is now.

Pellichero said Monday night’s discussion was a huge step for the project, and she’s looking forward to the day when Princeton will offer the New Jersey first-ever organic pickup service.

New members are not currently able to sign up for the food waste program, but if officials approve of continuing the project, Pellichero said she could add participants by the end of the year.  

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