Madison Gathers Data On Household Organics Generation

August 30, 2010

Part Of The Planning Process For An Organics Compost Program

The Streets Division has begun to gather data on Madison resident's generation of organic waste and also checking on how those residents would react to a program that would collect that material for composting. This is part of the plan to reduce the volume of waste going to the landfill.

"We are in the early planning stages of a program to divert organic waste from the landfill," Madison recycling coordinator George Dreckmann said. "An important part of our research is asking Madison residents how much organic waste they think they produce and what they currently do with it. We are also asking for their opinion on a separate cart and collection program for household organics."

Residents can take the survey on line by going to the Streets Division's web page www.cityofmadison.com/streets. In addition to the on line survey, questionnaires are being mailed to 1,000 Madison households in the next two weeks.

The on line and mail surveys are part of the initial planning stages for a possible organics collection program. As currently envisioned, the organic material (food waste, pet waste, and paper products such as towels, napkins, plates and cups along with pizza boxes) would be collected and taken to a digester where it would be composted. Methane gas generated during the process would be captured and used to produce electricity or provide fuel for collection trucks and the remaining solids, called digestate would be mixed with yard waste and composted.

"This is a very exciting project that could divert as much as 14,000 tons for the landfill annually," Dreckmann said. "We are in the midst of a waste characterization study that is separating and measuring the waste that is going to the landfill. This customer survey is another part of our process."

"There are a lot of questions to be answered about this project before we can move forward," Dreckmann said. "We need to know how much it will cost to build and operate a digester as well as the cost of a new collection. But, given the uncertain future of our waste disposal options after our current landfill closes, we need to move forward now."

Contact:
  • George Dreckmann, 267-2626