The Food Cycler is coming to East Hawkesbury.

At a special meeting on February 28, township council approved a pilot program to obtain 100 Food Cycler machines which break down residential food waste and make it easier to compost.

The decision to proceed with the Food Cycler pilot program followed a presentation at the February 14 council meeting by Christine Zardo, of Ottawa-based Food Cycle Sciences – the company responsible for the Food Cycler concept.

Zardo said food waste that is sent with regular garbage to landfill sites releases greenhouse gases – particularly methane, which is more harmful than carbon dioxide – and it also reduces landfill capacity.

“It accounts for almost half of what is in our household waste,” Zardo said.

A Food Cycler is a small appliance about the size of a home bread machine. They are manufactured by Vitamix. Food waste, such as table scraps or spoiled items from the refrigerator are placed in it, and within hours, it turns the waste into a dry, rich, soil-like substance, which can be added to yard waste, such as grass and leaves , or put to further compost use at home or on the farm.

Zardo said not everyone has yard space for home composting and participation is low in places where municipal composting programs do exist. The Food Cycler appliance can process one kilogram of food waste per cycle. Zardo said with the combination of diverting food waste from landfills and eliminating transportation associated with municipal composting programs, Food Cycler use can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food waste by up to 95 per cent.

“We’re reducing food waste at the source,” Zardo said.

Food Cyclers are already in use in approximately 1,200 households in 14 municipalities across Canada. I many cases, pilot programs have resulted in permanent Food Cycler use. Nearby municipalities using the program include South Glengarry and South Stormont.

In East Hawkesbury, the pilot program will last 12 weeks and up to 100 households will be eligible to participate. The township is purchasing 100 Food Cycler appliances at $ 300 each, plus $ 2,000 for delivery, resulting in a gross cost of $ 32,000.

Residents who choose to participate may purchase a Food Cycler appliance from the township for $ 175. If all of the appliances are sold, the net cost to the township for the pilot program will be $ 14,500. A one year supply of filters for the appliances has also been provided to the township, but those must be paid for by residents.

“We believe your community is a great fit for the benefit of our program,” Zardo told council.

There were no questions or comments from council members when Zardo gave her Food Cycler presentation on February 14, or when council approved proceeding with the pilot program on February 28.

East Hawkesbury residents who are interested in obtaining a Food Cycler appliance and participating in the pilot program may contact the township office in St-Eugene at 613-674-2170.

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