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Commercial / Institutional Food Waste Collection and Composting

This web page provides information about a pilot project for food waste collection and composting in Groton and Stonington.  The following table summarizes some of the basic information associated with this project:


Towns of
Groton and Stonington
Total Funding Amount (provided by SEP) $70,000
Total Matching Funds (provided by partners) $20,000


Final Report Received February 2007


Stacey Ohlmann-Leitch, Project Management Specialist, Groton DPW  860-448-4083

John Phetteplace, Solid Waste Manager, Town of Stonington 860-535-5099


Groton and Stonington are coastal communities located in southeastern Connecticut close to the Rhode Island border. Both towns have large commercial waste disposal needs that increase seasonally with the summer tourist trade. Stonington is home to two of the State’s largest tourist attractions, the Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium, while Groton is home to the Groton/New London Submarine Base and several of the State’s largest employers, including Pfizer and Electric Boat. Both Stonington and Groton are unique in that they have mandatory volume based user fees (Pay-As-You-Throw) for commercial waste.

Project Summary

The Towns will establish a dedicated organics collection route for their commercial customers. The types of businesses being targeted initially are restaurants, grocery stores, schools and nursing homes. Participation by businesses will be voluntary and the collection will be offered to them at a reduced rate compared to regular trash pick-up. Inclusion of other types of businesses may occur as the program develops and experience is gained. Food scraps from kitchen food preparation; spoiled produce; expired bakery, dairy and deli items; seafood; floral trimmings and waxed corrugated cardboard are some of the organics being sought for collection. Food waste will be collected in 32 – 90 gallon wheeled totes and there will be experimentation with biodegradable liners. Waxed corrugates cardboard will be flattened and collected by hand. The amount of source separated organic material will be recorded at each stop using an on-board computerized scale and transported via leak-proof vehicle to a permitted facility in Rhode Island. The data will be downloaded to the Town’s computer to use for billing purposes and to analyze recycling rates by generator type. With only field estimates to go by, and assuming 50 commercial customers will volunteer to participate in the pilot, it is estimated that approximately 34 tons per week will be diverted to composting.


The benefits of this pilot include:

  • Reduced disposal fees for commercial waste generators (local businesses)
  • Increase in local and state recycling rate
  • Use of the food waste’s nutrient value in the creation of compost, a beneficial end product
  • Foster entrepreneurialism in the organics recycling industry
  • Establishment of a model commercial organics collection program for other towns and entrepreneurs to explore and possibly implement
  • Reduction of wet, high-nitrogen waste being sent for disposal and therefore reduction of air emissions and ash disposal from resource recovery plants
  • Supports the goals of the proposed statewide Solid Waste Management Plan

August 2002 Update

Letters have been mailed to approximately fifty local businesses in Groton and Stonington asking for their participation in the organics collection project. Once participants have been identified, training will begin. A new consultant is being sought to train employees of the participating businesses on proper separation of their waste stream. A dedicated collection of commercial organics is expected to begin in September.

September 2003 Update

Composting | Organics Recycling Pilot Projects

Content Last Updated February 11, 2020