Tacoma’s first-of-its-kind food disposal pilot program starts Tuesday

TACOMA, Wash. — The City of Tacoma is trying out a new program that could help people get rid of food waste that’s slated for composting.

KIRO 7′s Ranji Sinha spoke to Mill, the company that’s working with Tacoma, about the first-of-its-kind program that starts Tuesday.

Mill is trying to lessen the composting smell and make it easier for trash pick up, the company said.

People can sign up with Mill for a subscription, and they’ll receive a food waste recycling trash bin that dries, shrinks and de-stinks kitchen scraps overnight. The trash cans turn the scraps into food grounds and were designed by former Apple engineers, said Mill.

This is different than composting because composting changes the food, but Mill’s kitchen bin turns the food into a safe and nutritious ingredient that can be used for chicken feed.

Once the Mill bin is full, which can take a few weeks, people can send the good grounds back to Mill.

This will theoretically reduce waste and how much is thrown away, and ultimately could lower how much waste Tacoma has to process, according to the company.

“The city of Tacoma is the first city we are teaming up with in this innovative public-private partnership, said Mill. “We’re really excited to introduce this new technology to see if their experience can be improved. Taking out the stink and the ick factor and fruit flies from their kitchen source separation experience.”

Mill is going to compile and share data that will allow Tacoma to see how much food waste is being produced.

City officials started recycling food waste back in 2012 and estimate that it’s diverting up to 1,000 tons per year of compostable food waste from landfills.

When asked why not just compost the waste, Mill responded that the EPA says taking the waste and using it to feed animals is a higher priority and, in this case, would feed chickens so it would support a food source.

Tacoma residents can sign up with Mill for the subscription service, which costs about $33 per month. The bin and shipping cost of the converted food waste to Mill is covered in that subscription.

City officials said there is no direct cost to the City of Tacoma, the program will run for 18 months and about 600 kitchen units will be available.

For more information, visit the Mill website.