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Assessing Mechanisms to Expand Composting in Ann Arbor

Assessing Mechanisms to Expand Composting in Ann Arbor

Program: Dow Sustainability Fellows Program
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Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash

(Dow Fellows Program 2017)

This project set out to understand key barriers to expanding compost programs in Ann Arbor, and to identify best practices to support the city in expanding composting programs most effectively. In order to expand composting, the city needs new or complementary funding mechanisms to expand composting services, or it must make trade-offs in the services it provides to its residents. Additionally, a comprehensive education campaign can help increase food waste collection and reduce the contamination of compost. A Pay-As-YouThrow (PAYT) financing system has proven successful in many cities with progressive organic waste programs and is recognized by AMERIPEN as the most promising strategy for increasing waste reduction and diversion in the United States. This team recommends that Ann Arbor implements this type of funding structure, as it creates a sustainable mechanism to fund its solid waste program and incentivizes waste diversion. The analysis of model cities that follows serves to illustrate successful ways by which PAYT can be implemented.