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Surplus Of Holiday Foods Doesn't Have To End Up In Waste

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At the end of a filling Thanksgiving feast, you might be wondering: what on earth should I do with this big turkey skeleton with bits of meat all over...

At the end of a filling Thanksgiving feast, you might be wondering: what on earth should I do with this big turkey skeleton with bits of meat all over it? You could compost it instead of sending it to the landfill. But it’s a lot of work to do it right. One local man is making it really easy to compost.

  The City of Providence supports eight neighborhood composting sites, serving at least 200 residents. Only one of those sites, located in the Smith Hill neighborhood at Frey Florist, accepts all food scraps, “…from greasy buttery leftovers to cooked meat scraps as well as the carrot ends and the lettuce ends,” said Michael Bradlee, who manages that site.

“This holiday is an opportunity to remind people that all of their leftovers can then be used to make more compost to return back to the food cycle,” said Bradlee.

Bradlee has composted animal protein since 2013 without creating odors or attracting vermin. He said it's possible to do so with good management practices. His particular site serves about 60 households, cost-free. He sees a growing demand across the state for neighborhood composting programs like the ones supported by the City of Providence.

With revised state composting regulations on the horizon, Bradlee is hopeful the marketplace will soon support more community-scale composting operations, like his. 

Bradlee believes accepting everything, from fish scraps to spoiled cheeses, is the best way to create an easy and successful neighborhood composting program. That way, people can go on with their busy lives both feeding themselves and the earth.

Other composting operations that accept everything include the state’s only commercial food-scrap composting facility at Earth Care Farm in Charlestown and The Compost Plant, which is the state’s first commercial food scrap collection service.

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An estimated 20 percent of what ends up in municipal landfills is food. During the Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates more than a third of perfectly good turkey ends up in the garbage.
An estimated 20 percent of what ends up in municipal landfills is food. During the Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates more than a third of perfectly good turkey ends up in the garbage.