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Dane County to expand access to food waste composting kiosks

Source: Nate Wegehaupt - Civic Media

Dane County to expand access to food waste composting kiosks

The new kiosks join a number of programs sought by Dane County to divert food waste out of the rapidly-filling Dane County Landfill.

February 7, 2024 at 12:41 PM UTC

By: Nate Wegehaupt

MADISON, Wis. (WMDX) – Dane County officials will expand their food waste diversion project, installing new food waste composting kiosks around the county. County officials announced Wednesday that they received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help build the program.

Currently, the county works with the City of Madison and Sustain Dane to place composting kiosks at select Madison farmers markets. The grant will allow the county to expand drop-off locations outside of Madison, possibly including the City of Middleton, and the Village of McFarland. The food waste would then be sent to Purple Cow Organics, who then turns the food waste into usable compost. 

The new kiosks will be strategically located throughout the county to give as many people as possible the opportunity to compost their waste. 

Another portion of the grant announced today is funding for the county Department of Waste and Renewables to increase education and outreach to help develop new food waste solutions. 

The goal of the program is to divert food waste from entering the Dane County landfill. Food waste not only takes up room inside a landfill, but helps create methane, a greenhouse gas at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Instead of putting that food waste into a landfill, Purple Cow can turn it into compost, which can instead help grow food both in Dane County and across the country.

The new food waste kiosks join a number of new sustainability initiatives taken in recent years, as the current landfill begins to fill up.

Dane County officials announced a partnership with Purple Cow last month, when they announced that they were going to begin expanding their food and yard waste composting services. The partnership will begin in full later this year, when Purple Cow will begin accepting around 22,000 tons of leaf and yard waste and 1,200,000 pounds of food waste every year. 

County officials are also working to create a new Sustainability Campus that would serve as a hub for recycling activities in Dane County. This could include everything from food waste composting and recycling, to education and outreach, to developing new, clean technologies for waste management. Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2025.

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