FoodCycler program catching on in Peterborough County

The idea of recycling food waste right on the kitchen counter tops of homeowners is catching on in Peterborough County with Trent Lakes recently winning an award for its program and Selwyn Township beginning a similar program this month.

Trent Lakes was awarded an innovation award at the recent Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in Toronto for its at-home compost alternative FoodCycler program that diverts food waste from the local landfill.

The township began a pilot program in the autumn of 2021, offering a 50 per cent subsidy to 150 residents who bought a FoodCycler appliance from Food Cycle Science, an Ottawa-based company. The program was expanded in 2022 to 250 more households.

The countertop composter grinds food scraps — from eggshells and banana peels to vegetable leftovers — into a dry, odourless and nutrients-dense byproduct that can be added to indoor plants or outdoor gardens.

Trent Lakes has diverted 96 metric tons of food waste each year from the landfill.

Selwyn Township will run an eight-week pilot FoodCycler program Feb. 27 to April 24 offering residents two models to choose from.

The pilot program is a partnership between the township and Canadian company FoodCycler Science and is being subsidized by the township at $100 per unit. An additional $50 per unit is being covered by a grant from Impact Canada. This means the resident pays $150 plus HST for the smaller unit and $300 plus HST for the larger one.

Participants will be asked to track how many times a week they run their FoodCycler during the pilot period and complete a short survey at the end. The program will help measure the feasibility of using FoodCyclers to support at-home composting in Selwyn Township.

The owners will keep their FoodCycler when the period is finished. It is meant to supplement, not replace, backyard composting.

The FoodCycler takes up about one cubic foot of space and requires a power outlet.

Once set up, users can toss your food scraps into the bucket and press the button.

The FoodCycler reduces the volume of food waste by 90 per cent in four to eight hours. Each cycle uses about 0.8 to 1.5 kWh of electricity, which costs about 10 cents. The carbon filtration system eliminates odours, making it perfect for indoor use.”

Each FoodCycler has the potential to divert two tonnes of food waste over its lifetime, according to the township.

The deadline to register for the Selwyn Township program is Feb. 13.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner