WRAD, Waste Reduction and Diversion, is the sustainability committee of York Ready for Climate Action.
It was an outgrowth of the successful campaigns to reduce plastic pollution by banning single-use carry-out plastic bags (2015) and polystyrene foam containers (2020).
WRAD’s first activity was to interview York restaurant owners to develop relationships and gauge interest in transitioning from single-use packaging to compostables. A few restaurants had already pledged to be “zero waste” using exclusively washable or compostable products. For others cost was prohibitive or they did not experience an urgency to reduce single-use plastic.
The committee decided to put its efforts towards diverting food waste from landfills and incinerators by increasing composting. The first project was to transition York High School to compost its food waste. WRAD applied for and was awarded a grant from the York Sustainability Fund to finance pick up and composting of food waste by Mr. Fox Composting. School administrators, managers, and students teamed up with WRAD resulting in a successful year of food waste recycling/composting.
The second initiative was to increase the number of York households recycling their food waste by signing up with Mr. Fox Composting. A goal of 50 new sign-ups was established and an incentive, a free kitchen counter bin, was offered. “Let’s Ban Polystyrene” donated the remainder of its funds to WRAD for the purchase of kitchen bins. As of March 2020, there were 26 new household sign-ups.
In January 2020 WRAD members met with George Parmenter, Hannaford Sustainability Director, and David Couture, the store manager to discuss ways to reduce single-use plastic. A subsequent walk-through which included representation from the York Recycling Committee and Creation Care provided an opportunity to specifically point out the single-use plastic packaging that is no longer accepted in York curbside recycling.
A subsequent meeting sparked a conversation about Hannaford providing a community drop site for residential food waste. This would provide another option for diverting food waste. As of January 2021, efforts are ongoing.
Carrie Mayo, Chairperson
Daphne Stratton Gignac
Linda Drew, First Parish Church/ York Creation Care