City Environmental Services to collect food scraps for compost - Tucson News Now

City Environmental Services to collect food scraps for compost

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A pilot program aiming to repurpose organic waste recognizes that one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Tucson's Environmental Services Department is partnering with the University of Arizona Compost Cats to collect food scraps from local restaurants and grocery stores.

Environmental Services will pickup the scraps beginning Monday morning, according to Environmental Manager Francis LaSala.

The scraps will be taken to a facility where they will be made into compost used on land owned by the Tohono O'Odham nation, the City's Parks and Recreation Department, and sold at farmer's markets.

Food for Ascension Cafe on 7th Street near 4th Avenue is one among 16 restaurants in Tucson that are participating in the pilot program.

The businesses are already customers of the UA Compost Cats, a student-run organization that fosters sustainable farming and waste reduction.

Restaurant staff at Food for Ascension save every bit of organic waste, from egg shells to coffee grounds; even what's left of customers' meals.

Participating  businesses pay $40 a month for the biweekly food scrap pickup service.

Food for Ascension Executive Chef and Manager Rani Olson said the incentive is to be more sustainable in their day-to-day operation.

"It's part of the entire cycle of what the vision is for this restaurant and I think what the vision is in Tucson in general is to really increase an awareness of local food, and bringing things back to full-circle," Olson said.

Only Compost Cats food scraps customers can make use of the pickup service from the city, but Environmental Services is looking at ways to expand pickup at other interested businesses, LaSala said.

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