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Feasibility study looks into possible composting facility in Toledo

A citywide composting facility could become a reality in Toledo within a few years if a study deems the project economically feasible.

In February 2012, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the city of Toledo and The University of Toledo as a mutual agreement to work toward a food scraps recycling facility for the Glass City and the greater Lucas County region.

The Sustainability, Energy, Efficiency and Design initiative on campus wants to study the feasibility of such a facility. The funding for the study will come from a community innovation grant from the Ohio Development Services Agency.

According to Brooke Mason, UT interim sustainability specialist, a committee she serves on is exploring the idea of the facility.

“We want to see if a potential facility would be economically beneficial,” Mason said. “Ideally, we only want to see it if it is beneficial. This is something UT and the city are interested in, but we are taking the necessary steps to make sure we don’t put Toledo in the red.”

Mason said a composting facility would be designated Class II, which would allow for the recycling of all organics, including food scraps. However, Toledo has several options for composting yard waste.

All firms that are interested in carrying out the study must submit a proposal to the committee by Tuesday, May 14. The committee will select a firm in June, and Mason said she hopes the study will be done later this year.

“Ideally, we would like for the study to be done by September,” Mason said. “If this is something that will work out for the city, we would want to apply for grants as soon as possible.”

The study will look into how the city could treat waste and who major customers of the service would be, among other things.

Similar food composting efforts have been successful in Ann Arbor, Mich., Portland, Ore., and parts of California.

Anyone interested in the study or the Sustainability, Energy, Efficiency and Design initiative can contact Mason at 419.530.1042, brooke.mason@utoledo.edu or seed@utoledo.edu.

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