YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A new partnership with the Mahoning County Green Team will turn thousands of pounds of discarded food into compost.
“We’re going cradle to grave with the food waste into compost into growing new produce and the back on the tables of consumers everywhere,” said Mahoning County Solid Waste Management District Director Lou Vega.
The green team purchased a composter for its new greenhouse on Bev Road that will arrive by January.
They’ll take food waste from Second Harvest Food Bank and turn it into compost for Flying High, a non-profit that helps adults in the Valley with barriers to employment.
“It’s a win-win for everyone. It keeps product out of the landfill, and it helps people get more food into the system,” said Mike Iberis, the executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank.
The compost will be used at Flying High’s gardening programs.
The organization grows fruits and vegetables that are used in its mobile market, which, in turn, serve food deserts in the Mahoning Valley. Over a dozen participants in Flying High’s work acclimation gardening program will also grow more produce in the greenhouse.
“The expansion of the greenhouse will allow us at least another 10 to 15 to 20% in production of things that we can grow there,” said Jeff Magda, executive director of Flying High.
The Green Team’s new space will also hold a permanent collection facility for electronics recycling.
People can now schedule a drop-off for old electronics instead of waiting for events once or twice a year.
“We anticipate doing it at least every Tuesday, Thursday probably every third Saturday so there’s going to be a ton of opportunity to get their electronics, appliances and tires,” Vega said.
The composter was paid for through a $1000,000 grant from the Ohio EPA. The program will begin by June.