Brown County organic waste program on track to set record

BROWN, COUNTY Wis. (WBAY) -- Wasted food is the single largest category of material placed in landfills, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

More than 22,000 pounds of organic waste as been diverted from landfills this year through the Brown County Port and Resource Recovery Department's organic waste program.

Some who live in Brown County are helping reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up at the landfill.

The Brown County Port and Resource Recovery Department launched an organic food waste program about five years ago.

This year, the county is on track to keep nearly 30,000 pounds of organic waste out of the landfill, the most waste ever collected.

About 22,300 pounds of waste has been collected so far this year.

In 2018, a little more than 27,000 pounds of organic waste was diverted from the landfill through the program.

“We expected that we would run this for a couple of years as a pilot program, and we're hoping that we would have 100 households participating ...Right now we're at about 215 households,” said Mark Walter, Business Development Manager for the Port and Resource Recovery Dept.

Organic waste accounts for 25% of waste that's generated in the U.S., and there is an important reason why it should not go into a landfill.

“Anything that is organic, that breaks down in a landfill, creates methane; and methane is a greenhouse gas. It's not good for the environment. We have to find a way of collecting it and treating it,” said Walter.

There is only organic waste drop-off site in Brown County right now, located at 2561 S. Broadway in Green Bay.

It’s free to use once you sign up for the program.

To learn more about the organic waste program click here.

Other drop-off sites have been utilized in the past, but now the focus is on creating a drop-off site on Green Bay’s east side.

The county would also like to see curbside pickup, but the service would need to be contracted out to another entity.

On the west side of town, upgrades are being done at the Transfer Station to accommodate the increase in trucks getting rid of bulk waste.

The main work being done now is the addition of a second weigh scale.

“The second scale will be used for routine customers. They can come across the scale, they'll have an RFID chip within their truck, and we'll be able to weigh them in and weigh them out and decrease the line for those waiting to get onto the scales,” said Chad Doverspike, operations manager for the Port and Recovery Department.

Other improvements at the transfer station include adding a kiosk at both scale lanes for people to pay with a credit card, overhead signs and remodeling of the scale house.

The work is expected to be completed this fall.