Dane County Awarded $400,000 Federal Grant to Expand Composting Availability with Food Waste Drop-Off Kiosks

February 07, 2024
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive, Waste & Renewables

County Executive Joe Parisi is proud to announce that Dane County has been selected to receive a $400,000 grant to expand food waste composting availability to area residents. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the launch of 38 cooperative agreements for their Compost and Food Waste Reduction program—investing approximately $11.5 million to support innovative, scalable waste management plans to reduce and divert food waste from landfills. The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables is honored to be one of three Wisconsin recipients.

Dane County’s project will focus on expanding community drop-off kiosks for food waste, made possible by the increased capacity for food waste composting through the private-public-partnership recently announced between Dane County and Purple Cow Organics. The increase in composting will benefit regional greenhouse gas reduction goals, help save airspace in the Dane County landfill, and increase the health of local soils.

“The funding provided by the USDA will be a great resource for Dane County to expand participation in food waste composting,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We are excited to help citizens reduce their carbon footprint by making it easier for them to turn their food waste into compost.”

The kiosks will build upon the successful food waste drop-off programs already established by the City of Madison and Sustain Dane at the summer farmers markets. The funding will allow Dane County Waste & Renewables to expand drop-off locations to partner communities, possibly including the City of Middleton, the City of Madison, and the Village of McFarland. The County is also looking to collaborate with additional communities who may be interested in hosting a drop-off kiosk. The new kiosks will be strategically located throughout Dane County to give as many people as possible the opportunity to compost their food waste and will be designed to be engaging and multilingual.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Dane County by expanding food scrap recycling opportunities for our residents,” says Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “Madison will continue to provide opportunities to drop off food scraps at several farmers’ market locations again this year, and thanks to this grant, we look forward to seeing even greater access to composting for our community in the coming years.”

Also included in the grant opportunity is funding for the Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables to increase education and outreach to local municipalities, businesses, and organizations to develop food waste solutions.

“This grant award underscores the County’s continuing commitment to sustainability and, in turn, empowers our community to actively participate in reducing food waste,” said Middleton Mayor Emily Kuhn. “Together, we can model responsible waste management, fostering a greener and more environmentally conscious future.”

This funding opportunity adds to the momentum of Dane County’s recent announcement to create a local food waste composting program with Purple Cow Organics and the development efforts of the sustainability campus. The campus will help foster recycling businesses in Dane County, provide education around responsible waste management, and intends to be a resource hub for innovative waste diversion technologies and techniques.

For further questions, please contact Alex Thomas at Thomas.Alex@countyofdane.com or (608) 516-1542.

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