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Local Groups Look to Reduce Food Waste, Saying Compost Facilities Lag Behind in Ohio
Ohio Ag Connection - 09/28/2023

Local farmers, anti-hunger advocates and policymakers are exploring ways to reduce food waste in Montgomery County. The groups recently gathered at the Dayton Foodbank to discuss the challenges of establishing more compost facilities.

According to Montgomery Solid Waste District officials, about 16-18% of waste that ends up in Montgomery County landfills is food waste. That's close to 150,000 tons a year. The reasons why that food ends up in landfills are many, but they could include spoilage, logistics problems or a lack of labor at farms or other supply chains.

The U.S. EPA estimates each year, gasses produced by food waste equal 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. There’s also a significant amount of methane and nitrous oxide that’s released because of rotting food in landfills.

The Dayton Foodbank — which is one of three licensed food composting facilities in Montgomery County — started its compost program in 2019 as a way to divert its own spoiled food waste from landfills. The nonprofit also collects scraps through its compost bucket program.

The Foodbank’s farm manager, James Hoffer, said cost is a major reason why there’s so few regional composting facilities, though they’re willing to take the risk to show it can work, especially in urban cores like Dayton.

“Big picture wise, we were willing to take the risk to say composting can be a very acceptable neighbor,” Hoffer said. “And with the hopes that residents and our elected officials and people that are in the positions of power to make those decisions say 'Yes, we should be doing this on a county wide effort, on a regional wide effort.'”


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