In Fall 2020, Westchester County's Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF) established the Residential Food Scrap Transportation and Disposal (RFSTAD) Program. DEF saw the need to establish a program that would ease the financial burden for local municipalities to connect with local food scrap programs, and recognized that the transportation to and disposal of food scraps constituted the largest barrier to these programs in many communities.

DEF established RFSTAD to assist municipalities seeking to start or maintain food scrap programs. Under RFSTAD, District municipalities pay a subsidized rate for the transportation and disposal of food scraps collected by the municipality either through drop-off or curbside collections. This subsidized rate makes the processing of food scraps cost neutral or provides a cost savings when compared with municipal costs to process municipal solid waste. RFSTAD also allows for the bulking of food scraps with a goal of reducing greenhouse gasses created during the transportation of the food scraps to an organics recycler.

BPI Certified Compostable Service-Ware:

We ask residents to try to limit the use of all compostable service-ware and compostable bags to the extent possible. Even though thcompostable service-ware and bags disintegrate over time at commercial scale compost facilities:

  • Some Compostable service-ware may not disintegrate fast enough to be composted: Although BPI Certified Compostable service-ware will disintegrate at a commercial composting facility over time, some types of service-ware (cutlery for example) may persist for a longer period of time then the lifecycle of the compost pile at a facility. In the end, if the service-ware has not fully disintegrated, it will be discarded after the compost is screened. 
  • Excessive amounts of service-ware may negatively effect the compost process:  Service-ware degrades primarily as a result of thermal activity from a compost pile, and does not provide a significant food source for the composting process. Excessive amounts of service-ware may affect parameters such as the Carbon to Nitrogen ratio of a compost pile, which may in turn inhibit the composting process to some degree.  
  • Compost facilities have difficulties distinguishing between Compostable and non-compostable service-ware. Large quantities of trays, cups and cutlery may be determined by the facility operator to be contamination (as it is difficult to distinguish between plastic and BPI compostable unless under close examination). Most facilities do not have the staffing or the technology to differentiate. As such it may be discarded upon receipt.
  • Excessive use of service-ware may indirectly increase contamination levels in the food waste stream: For example; some food scrap drop-off participants who bring food scraps to the drop-off may see compostable service-ware in the drop-off bin and mistake it for plastic, and may come to the conclusion that it is okay to drop-off non-compostable plastic utensils and cups at the drop-off.  Plastic contamination is one of the most difficult challenges for compost facilities, especially small facilities such as the one that the county relies on.
  • Minimize use of compostable bags, when possible. The use of compostable bags also poses problems for smaller compost facilities which do not have the capacity to de-bag the food waste. Though BPI Compostable bags do break down rapidly, the widespread practice of using bags inhibits the composting process. This is because closed bags prevent food waste from mixing with yard waste at the facility, which is required for effective composting. For this reason, we ask residents to consider other options for storing and transporting food scraps such as using a brown paper bag liner for their table top food scrap receptacle, or freezing or refrigerating food scraps and transporting them to a drop-off in a reusable container. If it is absolutely necessary to use a BPI Compostable bag, we ask that residents rip the bag open or cut the bag open at the drop-off, or alternately refrain from tying the bag closed prior to bringing the food scraps to the drop-off site. 

Contact your local municipality for more information about recycling food scraps.

Participating Municipalities (current through 2022)