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The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency (Agency) is responsible for enforcing state and federal asbestos regulations in Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, and Warren counties. Regulations governing asbestos emission control from demolition, renovation, and waste disposal activities include the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 40 CFR 61.145, the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3745-20, and OAC 3745-22.
An operation is a demolition if the overall project involves the wrecking or removing of any load-bearing structural member of a facility whether or not regulated asbestos containing materials (RACM) is present. Related operations such as removal of demolition rubble or intentional burning are also subject to demolition requirements.
An operation is a renovation/abatement if the project does not include demolition activities, but does involve altering a facility in any way, including stripping, removing or disturbing RACM on facility components.
Per OAC 3745-20, the owner or operator of a demolition project must notify for all demolitions involving institutional, commercial, public, industrial, or certain residential structures, installations, or buildings. This includes bridges, tunnels, apartments with more than four dwelling units, homes which are part of a development project (not privately owned), partial demolitions, churches, power plants, parking garages, and farms.
Additionally, per OAC 3745-20, the owner or operator of a renovation project must notify when the amount of RACM stripped, removed, dislodged, cut, drilled, or otherwise disturbed exceeds 260 linear feet, 160 square feet, or 35 cubic feet off facility components. These amounts are a cumulative total of all work that is performed over the course of a calendar year.
Per OAC 3745-22, the owner or operator of a renovation project must notify when a licensed contractor is doing the project and the amount of RACM being abated exceeds 50 square feet or 50 linear feet.
Residential Exemption per OAC 3745-20: Projects involving a privately owned home, residential structures with four or fewer dwelling units, and mobile sources are exempt from having to submit a notification form, unless one or both of the following two conditions exist:
However, there is no residential exemption for projects under 3745-22 when the work is being performed by a licensed contractor. In some instances, a project will be required to submit a notification per both OAC Chapters 3745-20 and 3745-22. The new combined Ohio EPA Demolition and Renovation/Abatement notification form covers both rules.
As part of the merger of the two asbestos programs, a new online system was developed for the submittal of notifications. This system can be accessed through Ohio EPA eBusiness Center. All owners and contractors are encouraged to use this online system to submit their notifications of demolition and renovation/abatement.
If you prefer to submit a hard copy notification, the current Ohio EPA notification form may be obtained at Ohio EPA Asbestos.
Owners and contractors are strongly encouraged to submit their demolition and renovation/abatement notifications via the Ohio EPA eBusiness Center. State fees associated with online notifications are payable by electronic check or credit card. There is a small processing fee if payment is made with a credit card.
Hard copies, with full fee payment by a check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Ohio, must be mailed to:
Treasurer, State of Ohio
Asbestos Program, Ohio EPA DAPC,P.O. Box 1049Columbus, OH 43216-1049 or
Alternatively, copies may be hand delivered to:
Asbestos Program, Ohio EPA, DAPC,50 W Town Street,Suite 700,Columbus, OH 43215.
Hard copy notifications received without payment are considered incomplete.
In addition to the state asbestos fees paid when a notification is submitted, there is a regional user fee associated with each notification of demolition and renovation/abatement submitted to the State (whether the submittal is done online or via hard copy). For each original notification, Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency charges $100 fee. Starting October 1, 2018, the Agency has also charged $50 for each revised notification, up to three revisions. These regional user fees generate the funding required to review notifications and perform inspections of properties being demolished, renovated or abated in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties.
The Agency issues invoices on a semi-annual basis. These invoices are emailed around January 10 and July 10. For each billing cycle, you will be billed for each notification where the projects have been completed by the end of the previous quarter and marked as settled by Ohio EPA. Payment should be submitted to our Agency by the due date indicated on the letter which accompanies the invoice. We encourage you to use our online payment system. Checks and money orders should be made payable to the Treasurer of Hamilton County.
Please contact Dawn Mays (513-946-7758 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions concerning these regional user fees.
Either the owner or contractor may submit the notification. The submitter should be the person who signs the notification. Please refer to Ohio EPA Asbestos for information regarding obtaining the necessary electronic signature to be able to use the online demolition and renovation/abatement notification form.
As part of the merger of the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Health asbestos programs, a new online system was developed for the submittal of notifications. This system can be accessed through Ohio EPA eBusiness Center. All owners and contractors are encouraged to use this online system to submit their notifications of demolition and renovation/abatement. If you prefer to submit a hard copy notification, the current Ohio EPA notification form may be obtained at Ohio EPA Asbestos.
The owner and contractor share the notification responsibilities. They must decide together who will submit the notification. The party who signs the notification is responsible for the $100 local asbestos/notification fee and any additional $50 revised notification fees. The EPA can hold either or both parties responsible if adequate notice is not provided.
All owners and contractors are encouraged to use the Ohio EPA eBusiness Center to submit their notifications of demolition and renovation/abatement and pay the State of Ohio asbestos fees. If you chose to mail a hard copy notification it should be sent, along with full payment of Ohio EPA asbestos fees, to:
Asbestos Program, Ohio EPA DAPC,P.O. Box 1049,Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049
Asbestos Program, Ohio EPA, DAPC50 W Town StreetSuite 700Columbus, OH 43215
Each notification is subject to both Ohio asbestos fees and Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency (Agency) regional user fees. The Agency charges $100 for each original notification. Starting with original notifications received October 1, 2018, there will also be an additional charge of $50 for each revised notification, up to three revisions. The maximum fee per notification will be $250 ($100 for the original notification and up to $150 total for the revised notification up to three revisions).
The Ohio asbestos fees are paid when you submit your notification online (via electronic check or credit card; please note there is a small processing fee if you opt to pay with a credit card) or via check or money order (made payable to Treasurer, State of Ohio) when you mail or hand-deliver a hard copy notification.
For regional user fees, the Agency will issue invoices on a quarterly basis. These bills will be sent around the tenth of each month following the end of the quarter (January 10, April 10, July 10, and October 10). You will be billed for each notification where the projects have been completed by the end of the previous quarters Payment should be submitted to our Agency within 30 days of receiving this invoice with checks and money orders made payable to the Treasurer of Hamilton County.
Contact Ken Wilkins at 513-946-7743, or Dawn Mays at 513-946-7758.
Asbestos is a very small fiber that cannot be identified with the naked eye. It has been used in thousands of commercial products because of its insulating and durable characteristics. Some common types of possible asbestos containing materials are pipe insulation, textured ceiling coatings, plaster, floor tiles, cementitious siding, and roofing shingles.
Only certified professionals are allowed to take samples for laboratory analysis and only an accredited laboratory can positively identify asbestos containing materials. Contact a professional trained in asbestos regulations if you want a survey conducted for your building.
This agency does not perform asbestos surveys. Contact a certified asbestos contractor for this service.
If the pipe insulation is in good condition, and there is little or no chance of it being disturbed, it is probably best to leave it in place. If the pipe insulation is slightly damaged, it can usually be repaired or encapsulated using various methods. Often, there is less risk repairing the material than removing it.
EPA does not regulate the removal and disposal of asbestos containing material from privately owned single family residences. However, if the material cannot be adequately repaired or encapsulated, we do recommend that some types of asbestos containing materials be handled by a licensed abatement contractor who is trained to properly handle the material.
Typically the removal and disposal of that type of asbestos containing material is not regulated by EPA (even commercially) if it is in good condition. If the material can be taken up with no significant breakage, there is little risk for fiber release.
Typically the removal and disposal of this type of asbestos containing material is not regulated (from a commercial standpoint) if removed properly. If you feel the material is not being handled properly (for example it is being crushed, pulverized, reduced to powder, or broken extensively) contact your local EPA official.
If the asbestos is in an unregulated structure, it is not subject to the regulations and therefore a specialist is not required to remove it. If the asbestos is in a regulated structure, but is below the regulated amounts (260 linear feet, 160 square feet, 35 cubic feet of regulated asbestos containing material or any amount of Category I or II which remains in good condition), a specialist does not have to remove it. However, it is advisable to seek help from a certified professional when dealing with asbestos that can be damaged easily.
If the asbestos is over the regulated amounts, a specialist must be contracted to remove it. If you are still unsure whether or not a specialist should remove the asbestos, please call one of the agency personnel listed below.
Encapsulation means to coat, bind, or resurface asbestos-containing materials with a product that will surround or embed the asbestos to prevent the release of fibers. Encapsulation is not suitable for all types of asbestos-containing material (ACM) and the decision to repair ACM with encapsulation should be made by a professional.
Asbestos is present in many buildings, both public and private, including many school buildings. If there is asbestos in your child's school and it is in good condition, it can remain in place without posing a threat to your child's health.
Schools are required to have an Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) plan on-site which includes a survey documenting where all asbestos can be found in the building. The school is required to have an Operations and Maintenance Program and to have the asbestos evaluated on a regular basis to ensure it does not deteriorate and become a hazard. There are standard operating procedures for repairing or removing the asbestos if it does become a hazard.
Contacting your child's school is the only way to know for sure if the building has asbestos in it and how they are maintaining it.
Automakers have succeeded in cleaning up most of the harmful substances emitted by vehicles. Compared with unregulated vehicles 30 years ago, today's new cars generate 98% fewer hydrocarbons, 96% less carbon monoxide and 90% fewer nitrous oxides. However, vehicles still emit a great deal of air pollution, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide. Vehicle exhaust also contributes to ozone formation.
Two factors contribute to the high output of carbon dioxide per gallon of fuel burned:
Unfortunately, car exhaust contains three major air pollutants that are harmful to public health and the environment: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. Diesel engines tend to produce more particulate matter than regular gasoline vehicles.
Nitrogen dioxide contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, a fourth major air pollutant that leads to smog.
The cost of idling your vehicle for 10 minutes every morning can add up. Idling for just ten minutes wastes about 20% of a gallon of gas. It may not sound like much, but it all adds up. Think about how long do you idle each day, each week, each year? And remember, millions of motorists are idling.
It's easy, think about fuel efficiency every time you use your car:
Restarting just one or two extra times during the day has little impact on engine components. Restarting won't significantly damage your vehicle since the engine is already warm.
Open burning is any set outdoor fire that does not vent to a chimney or stack.
Depending upon the material being burned, open fires can release many kinds of toxic fumes. Leaves and plant materials send aloft millions of spores when they catch fire, causing many people with allergies to have difficulty breathing.
The pollutants released by open burning also make it more difficult to attain, or maintain, health-based air quality standards, especially in or near the major metropolitan centers.
The gases released by open burning can also harm neighboring buildings by corroding metal siding and damaging paint. Finally, open burning is not an efficient way to get rid of wastes since open fires do not get hot enough to burn the materials completely.
A few types of open burning are permitted everywhere, even in restricted areas. Fires must be kept to a minimum size for their intended purpose, and shall not be used for waste disposal purposes.
Under certain circumstances, yes. However, to burn a prohibited material or set a fire in a restricted area, you must receive written permission from Ohio EPA before you begin burning.
Local ordinances cannot be less strict than the state law described here. They can be more strict, however.
Ohio EPA has the legal authority to enforce the open burning laws. Violations can result in substantial penalties. If you have any questions, or would like to report a suspected open burning incident, contact your Ohio EPA district office or your local air pollution control agency. If you are in Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, or Warren County, call the Agency at 513-946-7777.
Air pollution permits are required for air contaminant sources. A business may have any number of sources at its facility. Each source requires its own permit unless it is specifically exempted.
air contaminant sources
An emissions unit is a term used to define a source of air pollution. The actual definition as found in OAC rule 3745-77-01, An emissions unit means any part or activity of a stationary source that emits or has the potential to emit any regulated air pollutant or any pollutant listed under section 112(b) of the Act. The term is not meant to alter or affect the definition of the term unit for purposes of Title IV of the Act.
An emissions unit means any part or activity of a stationary source that emits or has the potential to emit any regulated air pollutant or any pollutant listed under section 112(b) of the Act. The term is not meant to alter or affect the definition of the term unit for purposes of Title IV of the Act
This definition allows some flexibility in defining an emissions unit. Generally it is a machine or operation which emits a pollutant.
There are four ways to determine an air contaminant source:
If you are unsure if your air pollution source is considered one or more emission units, contact the Agency to inquire.
The Agency is the local air agency regulating Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties. If you have a facility in one of these counties, please call 513-946-7777 and one of our Environmental Compliance Specialists will assist you.
There are several options to obtain assistance for filling out these forms or for general EPA related matters. The first is to simply contact your Ohio EPA representative. It is highly recommended that you discuss your plans with the appropriate Ohio EPA representative very early in the process to make the process go as smoothly as possible. You may have to contact several people within Ohio EPA. For example, if your project involves air pollution emissions units and wastewater discharges, then you will need to contact the air and wastewater sections in the appropriate local office.
You can also contract with environmental consultants for assistance. The Ohio EPA cannot recommend any one consultant. It is highly recommended that you get references before hiring a consultant. Consultants have a wide range of experience and expertise so it is important for you to find out if the consultant you plan to hire can do the job you need done correctly.
The Ohio EPA Small Business Program is available to help small businesses get permits. This is a confidential service.
Companies can go to the Ohio EPA's website to obtain the permit application form.
Both the final Permit to Install and Permit to Install and Operate must be obtained before beginning any construction of a new air pollution emissions unit. This means that it is very important for companies to plan for sufficient lead time for the time it takes to get a permit. The actual time it takes can vary for many reasons, including:
Expect this process to take four to six months for normal permits, one to two years for major new facilities. It is best to contact the Ohio EPA field office representative as soon as you know about the need to install a new emissions unit. Ask them to estimate the time it will take and plan accordingly.
When you fill out your application be sure to complete all information requested which is applicable to your situation. If you are unclear if you need to complete a form or part of a form, contact your field office representative. This will help assure your application is complete and will prevent delays due to an incomplete application.
The application forms require a lot of information. Most of that information is needed for the review. However, sometimes a data item is not needed for your particular situation. If you don't have some information requested on the application, contact your Ohio EPA representative and ask them if it is needed. They can often give you advice on the need for that data element or how best to submit the data you do have.
Applications should be submitted to the Ohio EPA field office or local office that covers the facility location. Some companies are required to submit applications electronically using the Ohio EPA's Air Services. For facilities in Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties, send the applications to:
Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency250 William Howard Taft RoadCincinnati, OH 45219
Certain facilities may have to submit their permit applications electronically. For more information, consult with the Ohio EPA website.
Air pollution is caused anytime we burn something, especially fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil.
Yuck! You are with your family in the car, stuck in traffic and the car in front of you is blasting out a smelly, black cloud of smoke.
Everyone produces air pollution; some people produce more than other. Think about everything that you have done today from the time you woke up:
Every time you use something that requires electricity to operate, you produce a little bit of air pollution because a power plant had to burn a fossil fuel to make that electricity.
Try to keep a logbook for a day to see how many times you produced air pollution, which will include any time that you used electricity or gas. Also count how many times you managed to find a different way that cut down on air pollution. Give yourself one point every time you do something to cut down on air pollution. Take one point away every time you did not manage to find an alternative
There are many small things that you can do to reduce air pollution. If we all start by making a few changes to the way we go about our lives, our air and actually the entire environment may be a cleaner place to live!
Food scraps are taken from your bin to a food scrap processing facility where they are combined with carbon and processed into a nutrient-dense compost. If we keep contamination low, this food waste will be diverted from the landfill and be used to make compost!
Most of our local compost programs and agencies are small, so they stick to vegetative scrap only. They operate piles on local farms or in community gardens. To keep odors and pests to a minimum, they are unable to take meat or dairy.
There are a few larger facilities that can take a wider range of food scraps including meat and dairy, but they are located a few hours outside Hamilton County.
Spent coffee grounds are great for composting. Check with your hauler before you dump your latte or cappuccino in the compost since they may contain dairy. Some facilities may not be able to process dairy and meat products.
Loose-leaf tea is great for composting! If you’re going to compost a tea bag, just make sure to rip off any staples or bags made from inorganic materials.
Recycling paper is the best option, but paper napkins can’t be recycled so composting them is a great option. Newspaper and shredded paper break down easily so it’s a welcome addition to compost.
Check with your hauler. Eggs may attract unwanted pests and require extra carbon to process.
Crushed eggshells don’t run the same risk and are a great additive.
Check with your hauler. Animal-based dairy products contain a lot of nitrogen and require extra carbon to break down. Plant-based products break down quickly and are generally accepted.
Check with your hauler. Some haulers will not accept compostable plastic because they take additional processing to break down in a timely manner. The industry is still new and changing.
Fur biodegrades quickly and contains plenty of nitrogen. It’s a welcome addition to the compost.
Check with your hauler. Composting pet waste in a compost system is complicated. Herbivore waste, like from a rabbit is generally safe for your compost. Waste from an animal that consumes meat should be discarded in the trash.
Back2TheDirt aims to reduce food waste that ends up in the landfill and create high quality worm castings that benefit plant and soil health.
Learn more at their website: https://www.back2thedirt.com/compost.html.
Our processing partners help us close the loop by turning your food scraps into nutrient rich compost. Visit their website at https://www.compostnow.org/services/for-your-home.
Findlay Market has expanded its composting program to allow for community members to participate. Residents and market shoppers are able to rent a bucket from Findlay Market and drop off their food waste as part of the market’s Greening the Market Sustainability Program.
GoZERO places food waste containers with you and makes sure the compostables you place in them are composted. Visit their website at https://gozero.org/stations.
Cincinnati’s food waste is a shared problem that calls for a shared solution. Queen City Commons provides food scrap collection service to businesses and residents, and partners with local farms and gardens to turn that food scrap into compost. Visit their website at https://www.queencitycommons.com/compost-service/compost-drop-off/.
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The Hamilton County R3Source is a non-regulatory government organization that promotes recycling, reuse, and waste reduction. Hamilton County R3Source staff provides technical assistance and supplies to communities, businesses, and schools to help establish or improve waste reduction and recycling programs. The Hamilton County R3Source also funds programs for residents to drop off household hazardous waste and yard trimmings. Check around our website for more that the R3Source does.
The Hamilton County R3Source does not collect garbage, recycling, or large items nor do we accept any items dropped off at our location.
No. Putting the wrong recyclables into your bin or cart will contaminate the recycling stream. The materials move quickly on the belts through the Material Recovery Facility (MRF). Machines and people cannot quickly sort all of the unacceptable items, which can create contamination and the recovered items cannot be sold. It’s best to follow the acceptable item list. It’s important to recycle, but it’s just as important to recycle correctly.
The only plastics acceptable in curbside recycling are bottles, jugs, tubs, and cups. These include items like milk jugs, orange juice bottles, water/pop bottles, shampoo bottles, butter tubs, yogurt containers, clear plastic cups, etc.
Other plastic containers (strawberry, blueberry, lettuce containers, etc.) are a different type of plastic that is not able to be recycled locally.
Plastic bottles and jugs, in which the body is larger than the mouth, are "blow molded" which means the shape is made by blowing air into a mold, similar to blowing air into a balloon. The other plastic packaging is made in a process called "injection molded," whereby hot liquid plastic is injected into a mold and then removed once it cools and hardens. Blow-molded and injection molded plastics melt and cool at different temperatures, therefore are not compatible in the reprocessing stage. We currently only have local markets for blow-molded plastic packaging.
Yes! In February 2022, Rumpke announced it will now accept disposable paper, plastic, and aluminum cups in its recycling programs. Styrofoam and polystyrene (#6) cups (e.g. solo cups) are not accepted.
As for the lids, plastic lids on plastic cups are accepted and should be reattached prior to placing in the recycling container. Plastic lids on paper cups are not accepted - the paper cup should be placed in the recycling without the lid and the lid should be discarded in the trash.
Straws and stoppers should also be discarded in the trash. This material is much too small to effectively run through the recycling facility.
Any material that is not recyclable that residents put in the recycling bin. This could include any material not accepted for recycling and plastic bags.
Removing contamination is costly for the processors thereby increasing the cost of recycling. Some contamination can even damage the equipment at the materials recovery facility and require the whole plant to be shut down while plastic bags and videotapes are cut off equipment or parts are replaced due to heavy metal objects.
Most of the residential recyclable materials that are collected in Hamilton County are delivered to the Rumpke Recycling Facility in St. Bernard, where they are sorted and marketed to end-users.
Newspaper is remanufactured into a variety of materials such as insulation, paper tubes and packaging. Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE plastic) is used for polyester clothing, carpeting and roofing materials. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE plastic) is used to make irrigation pipe and drainage tiles. Glass is used to make new containers and fiberglass. Aluminum cans are used to make new cans. Steel is used to make new steel products.
Residents in every Hamilton County community have access to some type of recycling program. This is a great success due to the fact that in 1990, only 50% of Hamilton County communities offered recycling programs. With respect to recycling rates, the ten Hamilton County communities with the highest recycling rates in 2021 are:
You can reduce waste by having your name removed from many bulk mailing lists. Write to:Mail Preference ServiceDirect Marketing AssociationP.O. Box 9008Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008
No. These items are not recycled in the same way as items on the acceptable item list.
You can recycle your yard trimmings at home! Receive a free copy of the Yardwaste at Home Handbook (PDF) from the Hamilton County. This handbook gives valuable information on topics such as composting, vermicomposting and organic gardening.
The Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District also offers residents three Yard Trimmings Drop-off Sites which are available at no charge.
Latex paint is not hazardous and can be thrown away once dry. Garbage collectors cannot pick up liquids so remove the lid and let dry. To speed up this process, add kitty litter or paint hardener. Once dry, set out with your regular trash. Visit the Latex Paint Disposal page for more information.
You may find updated information by checking the Household Hazardous Waste page or by calling the Recycling Hotline at 513-946-7766.
For information about electronic recycling options in this area, visit the Electronics page.
Plastic bags, plastic film, etc. can be recycled at area Kroger, Wal-Mart, Meijer, and Target locations. Better yet, bring your own reusable bags when shopping.
The only way to assure that recycling programs continue is if there is a market for recyclables. Consumers control the marketplace for recyclables through their purchasing practices. Thus, when shopping, be sure to read the labels to see if the product is either made out of or packaged in recycled-content materials.
Every community in Hamilton County has either drop-off or curbside recycling available to their residents. In fact, many Hamilton County communities offer these services at no charge to their residents. Yet, in most communities, only 30% to 40% of the residents choose to participate. If you have these programs and they are offered for free, take advantage of them and participate. Also, if you have access to programs and there is a fee, please still consider participating. The cost of the recycling program, which is between $2 and $4 per month, may seem expensive. However, recycling prolongs the life of our area landfills. If local landfills run out of space and Hamilton County residents have to ship their garbage long distance, they could easily pay an additional $10 a month for garbage collection.
Everybody has extremely busy schedules and convenience items are an essential part of our lives. However, some of these convenient items have a significant amount of excess packaging which is neither recycled-content or is recyclable. When purchasing convenient items, try to select the item which has the least amount of packaging and is packaged in either recycled-content or recyclable materials.
Year-round outlets may be available for some of your material. Use our online materials search tool.
Household hazardous products pose a threat when improperly stored or disposed. The average home contains 60 to 100 pounds of hazardous chemicals.
The Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District partnered with Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District and Hamilton County Public Health to create the Take Back Your Home campaign. Take Back Your Home includes resources for you to reduce how much household hazardous waste you have in your home:
Visit TAKEBackYourHome.org to access these resources.
Latex paint is not hazardous waste. Visit the Latex Paint Disposal page for more information about latex paint disposal.
The home consumer of food. Home consumption accounts for nearly 40% of all food waste.
Buy only what you need. The greatest contributor to food waste is over-buying. Research your recipes, make a list, shop your pantry, buy what you need, and store your food properly.
You want to reduce the temperature by moving leftovers to the fridge or freezer. There is a temperature range that is ideal for bacterial growth. By reducing the time food products are in that “danger zone” you can maintain a wholesome reusable food product.
Nearly 1/3 of all food is wasted. Organic materials that wind up in the landfill produce methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Additionally, 17.9% of Hamilton County residents are food insecure. With so much food available, we need to figure out how to reduce waste and get it to the people who need it the most.
Your home food scraps are not generally donatable. They can however be re-used to make dishes for your family. If you have unopened food that is wholesome and healthy you can consider donating them directly to a local food pantry or you can use them to make a meal for a soup kitchen. Having a relationship with a food access point is important. You’ll better understand the needs of your community and how to best help those in need.
Commercial and restaurant food service providers: learn how to donate your food here: Food Donation Guidelines.
Generally, yes, if you think it looks good, tastes good, and smells good, you can probably use it safely for home and family consumption. Remember to store your food safely after eating. That means reducing the temperature quickly and keeping the temperature low until you’re ready to reheat the food.
You can take a cooking class with a local food recovery organization like La Soupe, you can sign up for a wasted food seminar from Hamilton County R3Source, or you can search for cooking demonstrations at a local restaurant or grocery store.
Hamilton County R3Source has a great online food storage guide. You can also visit the USDA’s FoodKeeper or the University of Georgia’s National Center for Home Food Preservation.
It is generally not recommended to compost meat or dairy in your home compost. Meat and dairy can attract pests that could cause other problems. Composting meat and dairy requires an expertise, access to commercial grade equipment, and commercial quantities of organic waste to produce an internal temperature high enough to kill off pathogens. Before composting check your municipal code, there may be restrictions on what can be composted at home.
In Hamilton County, Back2TheDirt, Compost Now, Findlay Market, GoZERO, and Queen City Commons offer service. You need to sign up with the provider, directly. You can visit R3Source.org to learn more
Food waste is a byproduct of over-buying and could easily be used to address the issues of global hunger. In Hamilton County, 17.2% of the population is food insecure. People go hungry for many reasons including cycles of poverty, disability, lack of employment opportunities, and the challenges of parenthood. The cost of hunger is well documented and cost the US nearly $1 Trillion each year.
Nitrogen (wet, green food waste) produces odors. Adding carbon (dry, brown stuff like shredded paper or dry leaves) will keep odors low. You could alternatively keep your compost in the freezer until you’re ready to take it outside.
Compostable plastics usually takes a commercial facility where the larger items are typically ground down, and there is enough sun, water, and heat to break down the material. You can try composting this plastic at home, but it is generally advised to send this material to a commercial facility. It will not break down in a landfill and cannot be comingled and recycled with other plastics.
Use a kitchen collector that fits your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to have a lid, though some people prefer that. Personally, mine is an old utensil holder, it’s made of stainless steel and has a solid bottom.
Composting on site will reduce your carbon footprint, you won’t need to have as much waste transported away. Composting off site or sending to a collection service is still a good option. Compost is a great soil amendment. It’s also a great activity for the family. Decomposition is a part of life. You can use composting to teach your family about the food web.
Compost helps return nutrients to the ground. When a plant grows it uses nutrients from the soil to produce the vegetative elements we eat. Returning food scraps to the soil helps to restore those nutrients.
Yes, locally Compost Now and Queen City Commons offer these services.
Compost is a man made, organic matter that has broken down into a soft, dark amendment that can be added to soil to increase the nutrient quality of the soil. Soil is a mixture of rocks, sand, humus and other finely broken-down material which results from weathering and geological cycles.
It is generally not advised to compost meat from carnivores or omnivores. Cat and dog poop are not good for your compost. However, herbivores like rabbits are a different story. Rabbit poop has been called “compost gold” for its high nutrient quality.
Decomposition is a part of life. Compost is made up of organic scraps. Nitrogen-rich materials are the wet, green things. They produce an odor, especially if oxygen isn’t present. Turning your compost to allow oxygen to flow and adding carbon-rich materials – the dry, brown stuff – will help keep odors low or unnoticeable.
Food in a landfill decomposes without oxygen present. This anerobic environment leads to the production of gasses which cause obnoxious odors. It also produces methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.