Tacoma tests program to turn food waste into chicken feed
For Tacoma residents who don’t want to deal with smells and fruit flies, there’s a new alternative to composting. The city is testing a pilot program that aims to reduce food waste going into landfills by turning it into food for chickens.
Since 2012, the city of Tacoma has been offering curbside collection of food waste every other week. Still, a lot of that ends up in the trash, said Lewis Griffith, who manages Tacoma’s solid waste collection. He estimates about 10,000 tons of food scraps and uneaten food end up in landfills each year.
“That’s about 385 trailers full of food waste,” Griffith said.
Tacoma has partnered with Mill Industries, Inc. to give residents a different composting option. For $33 a month, they can receive a bin that dries and grinds food scraps overnight. Once the bin is full, customers can schedule a pickup. Later Mill plans to turn the grounds into chicken feed.
Griffith is curious whether this type of service changes behavior and makes a measurable difference in reducing food waste.
“If that material is not coming to our garbage, we’re not having to collect it, we’re not having to pay for it to go to a landfill,” he said.
A recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that more than a third of food produced in U.S. is never eaten and ends up in landfills.