A nonprofit says it can build Mount Everest—with food scraps.
Starting in April, Reunity Resources will begin collecting scraps at restaurants and other commercial establishments in the city. The organization estimates that it can divert 2 million pounds of scraps from the landfill in the pilot program’s inaugural year—enough waste, it says, to create a pile as high as Mount Everest.
The city of Santa Fe contracted with Reunity to collect monthly reports on the effort, says Lawrence Garcia, acting director of the Environmental Services Division. The city isn’t paying the nonprofit for the data, he says, but it is providing collection bins for the waste.
Reunity says it approached Santa Fe about the program over a year ago, but city officials turned it down because the solid waste ordinance was written to prevent companies that weren’t contracting with the city from collecting waste. Santa Fe then put a bid for a compost program and selected Reunity, making it an agent of the city.
The nonprofit will charge participating businesses for collecting the scraps and transporting them to Payne’s Organic Soil Yard, which will charge a fee to process the food scraps into compost and sell the product to the public.
Reunity says its $30 to $90 fees are similar to what the city charges for trash pickup. The nonprofit will provide employee education, bins and collection up to three times a week. It says all food waste—like vegetables, fruit, meat and bones—will be accepted, “as well as certain biodegradable paper products.”