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Borough of State College noted for food recycling program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized State College Borough for its curbside food recycling program. State College is the only town in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania conducting curbside food waste collection for composting. The program began as a pilot and is slated to go borough-wide in 2013.

EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge encourages organizations to reduce waste, donate and recycle as much of their unspoiled food waste as possible.

State College Borough has a well-established yard and garden waste collection and now collects food waste as part of a pilot program which will become borough-wide next year. The food and garden waste is turned into compost, which is used throughout the borough and is also available for purchase. The borough uses and sells approximately 3,000 cu. yds. of compost per year.

Food waste is the largest waste category in the U.S. In 2010, 34 million tons of food waste was generated. Of that, 97 percent was sent to landfills or incinerators. When excess food, leftover food and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose rapidly and become a significant source of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change. Landfills and the food waste in them account for more than 20 percent of all U.S. methane emissions.