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City, UA launching pilot program for food scrap collection

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City, UA launching pilot program for food scrap collection

The City of Tucson and the University of Arizona will begin a pilot program June 30 to collect food scraps from local business for composting, a spokeswoman said.

The program will begin by targeting 16 local restaurants and groceries that are already customers of UA's Compost Cats program. The service will also be offered to new customers within the city limits, Cristina Polsgrove said in a press release.

Once food scraps are picked up, they will be delivered to a composting facility operated by Compost Cats on land owned by the Tohono O'Odham Nation. The compost will be sold at farmers' markets and is used by the Tohono O’Odham and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, Polsgrove said.

Food scraps are a significant part of the organ waste generated in the city, Polsgrove said. Tucson's Environmental Services Department will use the pilot program to evaluate whether commercial businesses, such as grocery stores and restaurants, generate enough food scraps to develop a cost-effective collection program.

“The partnership developed with the university and the Compost Cats presented us with a great opportunity,” Director of Environmental Services Andrew Quigley said in the release. "With this program, Tucson becomes one of only two Arizona municipalities collecting food scraps."

Collection days will be limited to two days a week to start, and increase as demand grows. The monthly fee will be $40 for twice a week service, said Polsgrove.

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