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October 30, 2013

Officials: Compost plan will soon bear fruit

COOPERSTOWN — Fifteen months after it was launched, a new composting program backed by Otsego County is ready to begin making 80-pound sacks of the decayed organic material to county residents.

The $30,000 pilot program, created by the Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation District, has been compiling food scraps from county facilities and mixing it with yard waste and wood chips, at a pad made with crushed stone and measuring 100 feet by 100 feet alongside the county jail.

The food waste comes from the jail, the 174-bed Otsego Manor and the county’s central kitchen.

Jordan Clements, a technician with the Soil and Water Conservation District, said the program is seeking to find additional sources of organic waste that could increase the volume of compost that will be available to the public.

There are plans to approach businesses, schools and towns to see if they wish to contribute materials to the composting effort, he said

Each 80-pound bag, he said, costs $10. Workers will be available to help county residents purchasing the product load it into their vehicles.

Workers seek to contain odors from the waste by keeping it covered with wood chips, Clements said. So far,, there have been no complaints, he added.

“This is a pilot project right now, but we would like to continue it and hope to see it grow,” Clements said. He pointed out there are plans to acquire additional scraps and yard waste that could be added to the waste stream, with the goal being to have the proceeds from the sale of the compost pay for all of the overhead to run the program.

“If it can sustain itself, then I think this will be very worthwhile,” Clements said.

Earlier this month, he said, four county jail inmates who have been awarded trustee status for good behavior helped fill more than 700 bags with screened compost. The nylon bags were donated by Brewery Ommegang and Butternuts Beer and Ale, Clements said.

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