The Public Work's Director Mickey Beall is pleased to share that November 1, 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the Compost Pilot Program. The Program began on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 (collections were done on Tuesday then) and the first 50 compost buckets were delivered to University Park residents. 33 of those original households are still participating in the program (the other 17 moved out of town). Last Friday, the Town signed on the 360th household to participate in the Program. Welcome to our newest composters on Sheridan Street in Ward 1 and thank you to all participants.
Funding to begin the compost pilot program came from the US Department of Energy "STEP-UP" grant that had recently been awarded to University Park. The STEP-UP team put out a request to see if UP households wanted to participate in a curbside compost pilot. We were oversubscribed in less than three days.
The pilot program consisted of household compost being collected weekly, separately from other household and yard waste. The advantages of doing so are many. First, the tipping fee for the weight of the compost - the heaviest part of the waste stream - was not charged to the Town at the County landfill. Second, the diverted compost was used to create soil and plant nutrients, creating a circular economy for biomass. Thirdly, the diverted compost does not decompose in the County landfill which would otherwise release methane, a 10X more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 (environmental). Town Council recognized that trying something a little different made economic, operational, and environmental sense. So they took a calculated risk based on the best available data, and greenlighted something new.
The Program has since been revised and streamlined to the point where more than one third of UP households participate in the program and the UP compost model has been replicated in municipalities across Maryland. Well done University Park!!
Visit the Compost Program page on the Town's website for more information. Questions can be directed to Public Works Director Mickey Beall at firstname.lastname@example.org.