Jacksonville’s composting test program may be extended

Published on June 21, 2023 at 4:46 pm

A program that helps schools and business compost their food waste could run longer than planned.

Jacksonville is considering whether to extend the Food Waste Diversion Pilot Program until Nov. 15, three months longer than scheduled.

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The program provides voluntary composting services for Duval County Public Schools, restaurants and other food-based businesses in the Riverside-Avondale area. It was supposed to last from Feb. 15 to Aug. 15, but it took longer than expected for the city and its contractor, Sunshine Organics 27 & Composting LLC, to figure out the logistics, according to legislation City Council is considering.

The council’s Neighborhoods, Community Services, Public Health and Safety Committee unanimously recommended the legislation Tuesday. The Finance Committee and the Transportation, Energy & Utilities Committee recommended the bill Wednesday.

The council proposed emergency passage for the legislation, meaning the bill needs to go through each committee only once and can now go to the full council. The bill says emergency passage is necessary for the council to prepare for the extension and ensure that program participants will continue to be involved.

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City Council Vice President Ron Salem said the extension could provide benefits.

“This was a pilot composting program that we implemented,” Salem said during the meeting Tuesday. “I’ve had some discussions with the Deegan administration. They’re very interested in composting. So, what this gives us [is] a little bit of time through the budget process, as well as getting six months of good data on their activities.”

This extension would give the Public Works Department until Decd. 15 to provide a preliminary report to the City Council about the program.

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