In an effort to reduce the amount of reusable garbage thrown away by residents in Durham and Middlefield, the Durham Middlefield Interlocal Agreement Advisory Board is launching a composting pilot program this weekend.
DMIAAB, along with support from the Durham Garden Club, will sell a limited number of home composting units designed to break down things like food scraps and yard waste, as well as meat, bones and dairy products.
"It's about changing people's minds. People are squeamish about waste, how to deal with it," said Chris Flanagan, a DMIAAB member who helped spearhead the program after numerous discussions about ways to reduce the amount of trash dumped at the transfer station.
Flanagan, who has composted at home for years, said he expects the units to go quickly, explaining that a rain barrel giveaway a couple of years ago was so successful the town of Durham ran out of units within a few hours.
"I expect them to be gone in one day," he said. The units will available on a first come, first serve basis starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday, August 7, at the Durham Volunteer Ambulance Corps headquarters at 205 Main Street.
The cost of the units are being subsidized by DMIAAB and through a $1,000 donation from the Durham Garden Club.
"The Durham Garden Club supports DMIAAB composter and digester project because it reduces landfill waste and creates clean compost and soil for homeowners," said Lynn Stanwood, the club's Environmental Issues Chair.
To launch the pilot program, DMIAAB is selling 25 Garden Gourmet units at a price of $47.50 plus tax, and 25 Green Cone Food Waste Digester units at a price of $27.50 plus tax.
Flanagan, who worked with Signature Marketing of Simsbury to purchase the units, called the 50-percent discount "substantial."
"These things last for years. I have an above ground composter that I've had for 15 years now," he said.
The Garden Gourmet, which has been featured on Oprah , will break down kitchen scraps - everything from banana peels to coffee grounds to egg shells.
The Green Cone Food Waste Digester takes kitchen waste typically thrown away as trash, including meat, bones and dairy products.
Both units come with instructions on how to install and use. In addition, the Durham Garden Club will be guests at the August 18 Durham Farmer's Market where members plan to display the units and take prepaid orders for additional units.
Flanagan said he hopes the program encourages more residents to recycle and reuse, rather than throw away.
"This is stuff we talked about in college," said Flanagan, who recalled having to travel to Middletown in the early 1970's to recycle glass bottles. "It's very slow. It's much slower that I had ever imagined it would be."