The five (5) solid waste member cities of the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) are Allen, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and Richardson. The cities have agreed to jointly requesting a grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) for a Food Waste Source Reduction Technical Study. This study will assess the financial and environmental impacts of a food waste reduction program to the five cities. The current concept is that it may be feasible to collect food wastes from grocery stores and dining based businesses while providing a cost reduction in waste services to the businesses.
Food waste comprises the fourth largest material disposed of in the landfill and is also the heaviest material disposed from commercial groceries and restaurants. These materials are rich in nutrients that can be used to process along with the regional composting program to enrich composted materials.
The diversion will increase landfill life expectancy, enrich the compost produced, and is thought to provide for a waste removal cost reduction to participating businesses.
The five (5) NTMWD solid waste member cities all have excellent recycling and yard waste programs in place for residential customers. Regionally, the next best opportunity for a waste-related environmental program improvement is thought to be in food waste recycling.
The grant will analyze the food waste opportunity and evaluate the use of mechanical equipment to de-package food waste from store containers to remove packaging contamination. Nationally, it is found that grocery stores that discard food wastes due to spoilage will invest in food waste recycling as long as they do not have to remove the product packaging.
Funding for a technical study will provide the necessary data to evaluate the benefits of a food waste source reduction program that will likely be run at the NTMWD Regional Disposal Facility (RDF) in Melissa so recycled products can be incorporated into the composting operation that is located at that site.
A "Food Waste" discussion paper produced by the City of Plano is attached to provide more details of the potential program.