Philadelphia Prisons Save Money, Help Environment By Recycling Food Waste


A pioneering Philadelphia prison recycling program promises enough cost savings and environmental accolades that Laura Cassidy, the prisons’ green-programs coordinator, is expanding it even as its funding runs out, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. “We’re diverting about 600 pounds [of food waste] a day” from a women’s prison, she says. “hat’s 600 pounds not going down the drain or into a landfill.” she said. Philadelphia’s prisons now recycle about 310 tons of nonfood waste a year. Cutting food waste from all city prisons could slash the system’s $250,000 annual disposal costs by up to 70 percent. Workers haul the women’s prison’s food waste to a field, where it cooks into a black mulch in four compost bays. Once there’s enough to distribute, it’s free to employees and community gardens. A $15,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded the pilot. Cassidy aims to create a green-jobs certificate program, in which inmates who learn composting skills can earn credentials to land work once they’re freed.

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