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Kirkland News Room

Public Food Composting Available in Downtown through Pilot Program


Media Contact:    
Kellie Stickney
Communications Program Manager
kstickney@kirklandwa.gov
(425) 979-6562       

KIRKLAND, Wash. – Visitors to downtown Kirkland can now compost food scraps using a compost cart on Park Lane, thanks to a pilot program managed by the City of Kirkland and local students.

In coordination with student volunteers, the City has launched a pilot program to evaluate the viability of public food composting in Kirkland. Over the next several weeks, the students will monitor the cart to evaluate usage, and identify whether the correct items are being placed in it.

The cart is designated food-only to minimize plastic being placed in the cart. Some restaurants in downtown Kirkland provide compostable food packaging and beverage cups, while others use recyclable or disposable products, and it can be challenging for consumers to distinguish between them. Plastic and glass present a major challenge for composting because it cannot be removed and reduces the quality of the final compost. Even a single glass bottle can cause significant harm because it breaks into tiny pieces that spread through many yards of compost.

The City offers public recycling receptacles in downtown Kirkland and at neighborhood parks but has not previously provided public compost containers. Unfortunately, many of the public recycling bins are often contaminated with garbage such as food, dirty beverage containers, and pet waste. Heavily contaminated loads must be disposed as garbage. Likewise, if the public food scrap cart contains significant quantities of garbage, the material will need to be thrown away.

The pilot was proposed by four students who attended or graduated from Eastside Preparatory School in Kirkland. Together, they founded The Tomorrow Project, a student-led organization focused on inspiring sustainable practices in the community and making it the norm for people to live sustainably. Keeping food waste out of the landfill is currently their primary focus.

“We believe that this food waste pilot program will help foster sustainable habits through the normalization of composting food waste. If this project is successful, the City of Kirkland will be setting a positive example for its citizens, as well as other cities in the greater Seattle area,” said Maxwell Feldman, member of The Tomorrow Project.

Composting food instead of throwing it away is environmentally beneficial. Compost returns nutrients to the soil in home gardens and agriculture, sequesters carbon, and helps filter pollutants in stormwater projects. In comparison, food that is thrown away sits in the landfill and produces the greenhouse gas methane as it slowly decomposes over the course of many years.

More information about the City’s recycling and composting programs will be available at the Sustainability Fair on Saturday, October 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. at City Hall or online at http://www.kirklandwa.gov/recycle. Follow The Tomorrow Project on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.tomorrow.projectlinks to external site. Learn more about the challenge of food waste and the benefits of compost at recyclefood.com. For questions, please contact the City’s Recycling Hotline at recycle@kirklandwa.gov or (425) 587-3812. ###