Nov 17, 2023 - News

New program takes the work — and smell — out of food recycling

AN infographic about composting.

Illustration: Courtesy of R. City and Mill

R. City, a south Phoenix farm that grows produce with compost, is using a new recycling technology to make it easier for residents to keep food scraps out of landfills.

Why it matters: Food waste drives climate change. It caused 58% of methane emissions from U.S. municipal landfills, per a new EPA report.

  • The average Arizona household wastes 4.17 pounds of food every week, according to a MITRE and Gallup survey released this month.

How it works: Mill — a national company that's designed an in-home recycler that grinds food scraps overnight into odorless powder — will provide bins to Phoenix residents.

  • You can put just about anything in the bin: meat, bones, dairy products and produce. It takes a typical family about a month to fill it.
  • Once full, schedule a pickup from R. City, which will collect the grounds and use them at its farm.
  • The full service — which includes the bin, pickup, filter refills and tech support — runs $35 per month. You can try it for free for one month.

1 yummy thing: For an additional fee, R. City will deliver a box of fresh produce when it collects the grounds.

A sampling of R. CIty's produce. Photo: Courtesy of R. City

Of note: The Mill bin is not composting. Instead of breaking down the organic material in food, it dries and grinds the scraps. Then R. City can use it to make fertilizer or chicken feed.

What they're saying: "This program is all about the local food system and building it up. We're making it really easy for residents to connect with local farms," R. City founder JD Hill told Axios Phoenix.

Zoom in: Hill has been offering food waste pickup services for a decade to Valley residents who do traditional composting. He told us he had a dream to become a farmer, but realized the business model is difficult for small farms.

  • By incorporating the compost program, he's able to pay all the overhead costs of his farm and found a pathway to sell his produce to people participating in the pickup program.
  • He expects more Valley residents to participate now with the ease of the Mill bin.

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