Stevens Point launches compostable waste pick-up, hopes to set state standard

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -- Since 2012, the idea of using kitchen waste from Stevens Point residents and businesses has been in the works. It took some collaboration from the city, the University of Wisconsin -Stevens Point and a group of ambitious organic farmers to get everything to function together.

Rob Michitsch is an associate professor at UWSP. He said the idea was a part of the advanced solid waste management class.

“Essentially what the students are doing over the course of about two semesters, they're working on a Capstone Project as part of their major, 70 percent of their mark, to develop a project related to a real life problem,” Michitsch explained.

Meleesa Johnson works at the Marathon County Landfill and is also the head of the Stevens Point Common Council. She's been a major facilitator of the project and is thrilled to see it come full circle.

"To be able to be a part of bringing this to the citizens who want it to help us be a more green community, I'm just all on board,” Johnson said.

Kelly Adlington is with Rising Sand Organics Cooperative Farm. She said anyone who wants to divert their home kitchen waste from a landfill is able to participate.

“And we have rates starting at $11.50 a month. That's for every other week pickup. So, roughly twice a month we'll come to your curbside and pickup a bucket,” Adlington said.

Participants will receieve a new, clean bucket, each time theirs is full.

"We want to make it as easy as possible and as accessible to people as possible,” she said.

For Johnson, the launch is just the beginning, of something much bigger.

"I think the Stevens Point model, and the things that came out of the university class here, could be replicated across the state. I think we've produced a model that is going to set a tone for the rest of Wisconsin,” she explained.

Restaurants and other businesses can sign up for weekly pickup.

Click here sign up for the program.

All of the food waste collected will be composted at Whitefeather Organics farm in Custer and used for organic vegetable production.