The City’s Environmental Services Department will begin a pilot program to collect food scraps from local restaurants and grocery stores. Initially, this program will target commercial businesses currently being serviced by the University of Arizona Compost Cats (Compost Cats). The food scraps will be delivered to a composting facility operated by Compost Cats on land owned by the Tohono O’odham Nation. The City entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement with Compost Cats on January 22, 2014 to divert food scraps and green waste. Compost produced is sold at Farmer’s Markets and is used by the Tohono O’Odham Nation, and the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Food scraps represent a significant portion of the City’s organic waste generation. Through this pilot program, Environmental Services will evaluate whether commercial businesses such as grocery stores and restaurants generate enough food scraps to develop a cost effective collection program. “Environmental Services regularly looks for new opportunities to increase waste diversion in the City,” said Andrew Quigley, Director of Environmental Services. “The partnership developed with the University and the Compost Cats presented us with a great opportunity. With this program, Tucson becomes one of only two Arizona municipalities collecting food scraps.” For the Pilot Program, Environmental Services will collect food scraps from 16 Compost Cats customers in the city limits. Additionally, ES will offer the service to commercial customers including current and new customers who generate food scraps. Initially, collections will be limited to two days per week. Additional collection days will be added as demand grows.
The monthly fee for the service will be the same as charged by Compost Cats ($40 for twice a week collection). Fees will change depending on service frequency.