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March Climate Heroes: Bedford’s Composting Programs

With your help, the Town of Bedford's food waste recycling pilot program diverted 37.9 tons of food scraps over the past 2 years and turned them into helpful compost!

Eve Hundt, Kevin Winn, Ellen Calves, Midge Iorio, and Chris Soi at the new Bedford Hills Composting site (open 24/7).

To encourage even greater participation in community composting and the ability for residents to contribute to meeting our sustainability goals, The Town of Bedford is opening two new compost sites. The sites, located in Bedford Hills and Bedford Village, are open 24/7, enhancing accessibility and convenience for disposing of food scraps and compostable materials. These are in addition to the existing site at the Recycling Center, open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

From 117, turn onto Railroad Ave. At bottom of hill, make a right into parking lot 8 and pass Tioli shed on the right and continue to the far end of the parking lot, going under the overpass.

Enter at access road to Platform Tennis Courts, near gazebo and swing set, approximately 300ft south of park’s main entrance. Food drop off bins are on right near trash/recycling area.

Read more about the benefits of composting and how The Town of Bedford is increasing access to composting. 

Why Compost?

Diverting organic materials from the waste stream mitigates the negative environmental impact associated with traditional disposal methods. Composting also plays a pivotal role in promoting environmental justice. Most garbage from the town of Westchester is taken to the incinerator in Peekskill. Burning waste heightens pollution in that area, increasing health problems like asthma for those who live there. 

Composting remains a crucial element in fostering inclusive and sustainable practices, addressing community needs, and actively working to alleviate inequalities exacerbated by environmental challenges.

Grant History and Achievements

 Town of Bedford and Bedford 2030 worked together to secure a DEC Climate Smart communities grant supporting a three-year pilot “Curbside Pickup” program for food waste in 2020. The pickup contract was awarded to Curbside Compost of Ridgefield, CT. The pilot program allowed residents to sign up for food waste collection at their residence with a half-price reimbursement. 

In the third year of the grant, a survey was sent out to determine the best way to increase participation. As a result, the Town decided to expand composting capacity by opening TWO new locations for 24/7 drop off of food scraps and compostables, free of charge.

What was the environmental impact of the program so far?

The program collected ~540 pounds of food waste weekly from the curbside compost pilot program. Note that an additional 1.2 tons is collected from the community drop-off program at the Bedford Recycling Center each week.

Reviewing various studies, Bedford estimates 0.4 megatons of CO2 equivalents (MTCO2e) reduction per ton composted. During the life of the pilot program, the net GHG reduction amounted to approximately 45 megatons of CO2 equivalents (MTCO2e). According to the EPA calculator, this equates to;

Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
10.7 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles
driven for one year

CO2 Emissions:
2,607 propane cylinders used for home barbeques
49, 593 pounds of coal burned

Carbon Sequestered by:
52.5 acres of U.S. forests in one year


New Composting Sites & Goals for 2024

In November 2023, Bedford 2030 conducted a food waste survey regarding the various food-waste methods available in Bedford and their potential growth. About 70% of the 99 responders said they currently separate their food waste from their trash. The new composting sites and increased hours should increase this capacity.

Looking at the broader community impact, the target for the year 2023 was a total of 104,000 tons of community compost. The ambitious goal for 2024 is set at 110,000 tons. These targets represent the collective effort and commitment to fostering sustainable waste management practices within the community.

Let's embrace composting as an ongoing climate solution!