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County Executive's Office

Dane County and Purple Cow Organics Partnering to Expand Food Waste and Yard Waste Composting in the Area

January 23, 2024
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
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County Executive Joe Parisi is proud to announce that after receiving multiple innovative proposals, Dane County is partnering with Purple Cow Organics to expand food waste and yard waste composting services in the county over the next five years. This strategic collaboration represents a significant step in Dane County’s commitment to environmental stewardship, waste reduction, and community engagement. The new agreement underscores Dane County’s commitment to implementing effective food waste solutions, increasing waste diversion, and promoting responsible waste management practices.

“This new compost program opens up a great avenue for residents and businesses in the county to start recycling food waste,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “It’s an excellent way for residents to help reduce greenhouse gases and adds to our nationally recognized climate initiatives that work to build a cleaner, greener tomorrow.”

This agreement allows Dane County to divert food waste and organics years ahead of its planned sustainability campus completion, furthering the County’s promotion of a circular economy. This will also prevent food waste and organics from entering the landfill, where they lead to the creation of methane, which has a greenhouse gas effect at least 20 times more potent than that of carbon dioxide, and take up valuable landfill air space.

Starting in late 2024, the program will have one year of pilot and set-up phasing before expanding to full volumes in 2025. The new compost program will be able to accept up to roughly 22,000 tons of leaf, brush, and yard waste, and up to 1,200,000 pounds of food waste per year. Dane County will be able to expand these volumes, as program participation grows.

Purple Cow Organics has been a regional expert and resource for composting since 2008 and continues to expand their services in providing excellent soil amendments and compost products, both locally and nationally. Purple Cow is committed to improving soil health, improving plant health and ultimately animal and human health.

“Purple Cow Organics is proud to be chosen to partner with Dane County on this project,” said Jerod Reuter, Chief Operations Officer at Purple Cow Organics. “We look forward to a successful public/private partnership, making food waste diversion a reality.”

With this partnership, the Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables will be able to provide expanded yard waste composting services and begin to accept food waste for composting for the first time at such a large scale in Dane County. This will also add stability and certainty needed for local municipalities to evaluate their own food waste collection possibilities in their communities. The program will work with local organizations and municipalities to target food waste collection through specified drop off locations before expanding to partnering with local point sources, such as local universities, grocery stores, and other large pre-consumer food waste generators.

Dane County will also partner with the City of Madison to accept their yard and leaf waste collections through this compost program, and will expand education and outreach countywide to begin taking food waste to Purple Cow Organics.

This commitment to expand organics recycling in the county by the Department of Waste & Renewables is the exciting first step in the development of their sustainability campus. The campus will help foster recycling businesses in Dane County. It will also focus on efforts of education around responsible waste management, and will be a resource hub for innovative waste diversion technologies and techniques.

For further questions, please contact Alex Thomas at Thomas.Alex@countyofdane.com or (608) 516-1542.

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