- Eugene, OR will be launching a voluntary two-year pilot curbside collection program for organic material this year. Up to 1,500 households in four areas will have access by next summer.
- Residents will receive two-gallon kitchen buckets to collect fruits, vegetables, meat (including bones), dairy products, seafood, eggs, and breads which can then be placed in the same container as yard waste for pick-up.
- The city plans to spend $200,000 on the program and haulers such as Sanipac and Lane Apex will "absorb" the cost of collection. The material will be turned into compost by a company called Rexius and sold in local stores.
City officials say the program is a response to statewide reduction targets and local climate goals. Residents currently send about 20 million pounds of food to an area landfill each year and the commercial sector generates an additional 20 million pounds. More than 200 businesses and schools currently participate in the city's "Love Food Not Waste" organic collection program which has diverted 7,000 tons of food over the past four years.
Both Portland, OR and Seattle have been offering curbside organics collection for nearly five years. While Seattle recently ran into legal trouble over its enforcement policies, both programs have seen success and Eugene will be looking to them as models.
Other major cities such as Austin and San Francisco have organic collection programs as well and the trend has slowly been spreading across the country. New York is also expanding its program, which will eventually be the nation's largest. Eugene should prepare to face some of the usual challenges — processing capacity and education — and proceed with patience if it hopes to succeed.