New composting initiative in DC introduced on Earth Day

WASHINGTON — To better manage food waste in its neighborhoods and to enrich its many parks and gardens, D.C. has launched a citywide program to convert household food waste into compost.

The initiative was unveiled Saturday, which was Earth Day.

“We know that we’re going to produce waste, and, for cities like ours, we want to manage it better,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser at a rainy ceremony introducing the new citywide composting program.

District residents are now invited to collect their banana peels, coffee grounds, eggshells and other acceptable food scraps in sealed containers for drop off at farmers markets throughout the city.

“On Saturdays, when people come to do their shopping at farmers markets they can help save the planet,” Bowser said.

“The food will be converted to compost and the compost will be offered to residents for free,” said Chris Shorter, director of the Department of Public Works.

D.C.’s 36 community gardens that stretch across the city, from Anacostia to Glover Park, also will be supplied with compost made from food waste.

“What we do is we take our waste, we put it into our gardens to help our gardens grow and our urban farms, as well,” said Themba Masimini, deputy director of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

District leaders also hope the food waste program will improve neighborhoods where rats and mice thrive when food waste is unmanaged in unguarded trash containers.

“It’s good for the environment and its good for other municipal issues,” said Bowser.
“When people and restaurants better manage their food waste, we know that also has very positive effects in neighborhoods.”

Farmers markets in all eight wards are participating in the city’s food waste drop off program.

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