Milwaukee Ends Compost Program
As recently as February the city was planning to greatly expand it.
The Department of Public Works is terminating its compost program just months after it unveiled a plan to expand the pilot program citywide.
Approximately 540 participants pay an extra monthly charge of $12.75 and are able to put their organic waste into a special 65-gallon container that a private contractor picks up. Since the program began in 2016, envisioned as a one-year pilot, over 680 tons of waste have been diverted from the landfill.
In February, DPW released a request for proposals (RFP) to expand the program beyond its current offering only for the East Side, Riverwest, Harambee, Walker’s Point and Bay View neighborhoods to a citywide offering. A waitlist exists for the pilot program currently.
But participants received an email in recent weeks announcing the program would be terminated at the end of September.
“We do not make this decision lightly, but feel if we are unable to offer a City program at this time, that it is important to support organics diversion and the local companies who are bolstering this industry,” wrote Longshore. A list of potential private operators was included, including Compost Crusader, Curby’s Compost, Waste Not, as were instructions on how to start with at-home composting.
“As the City of Milwaukee transitions from this pilot program, we are proud of the pilot having diverted over 700 tons of organic material from the landfill,” said the department in a statement. “While a City-wide program is not feasible it is important to support organics diversion. We’re encouraging subscribers and those on the wait list to connect with our recommended local providers, utilize at-home composting, and make use of our resources such as the annual spring compost bin sale and free composting classes in partnership with Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful.”
DPW provided an additional $1 per subscriber per month to Compost Crusader to support the program as an estimate of the city’s landfill savings.
The RFP issued by DPW required prospective vendors to establish a permanent program by committing to operating it for a minimum of five years and providing a growth plan for eventual citywide service.
A 2018 report provides greater detail on the program.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.