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City Council Looks At Whether Philadelphia Should Have Citywide Food Composting

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- An increasing number of homeowners have taken to composting their food waste rather than tossing it in the trash. With that in mind, City Council this past week looked at whether Philadelphia should have citywide composting.

Calling the hearing was 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass, a composting proponent. She says,
"Food waste doesn't belong in the trash. It belongs in the compost bin."

Bass would love the city to add food waste to its recycling program, so Philadelphia would become one of the largest cities to compost. But Phil Bresee, the city's Recycling Director, said citywide food waste recycling was an expensive proposition.

"An immediate commencement of citywide collection for organics would cost approximately $30 million for additional vehicles and containers." And he said, there would be an additional $7 million a year in labor costs.

"Given the cost and complexity of collection and procession, implementation of any program would need to phased in over the course of a number of years," said Bresee.

But advocates argued that the city could reduce its wastewater treatment costs by composting.

Among them was Ned Foley, who owns a composting business called "Two Particular Acres."

"We could save the city roughly 30-40 percent of the cost of these soils (impact on) your drain storm water initiatives, by simply composting down in Southwest Philadelphia."

Foley said composting should at the very least be encouraged among residents and he said newer methods would deal with the common problem of odor.

"Food waste composting can be done, and it can be done well, and it can be done without odors, and it can be done in the backyards of fancy homes."

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