News & Events

Composting for the climate can be easy

By Jodi Leamon, ACDEM’s Sustainability Coordinator

Sometimes news about climate change can feel overwhelming, but there is something we can all do at home to make a difference. One of the simplest climate-positive habits to implement in the average person’s life is to start composting.

Let’s take a quick look at the science:

Organic material includes anything that decomposes like leaves, yard waste, food scraps, and paper products. Organics that are thrown in the trash end up in the landfill, where they make up the largest part of the waste stream nationally. Once buried in a landfill, these types of material decompose without oxygen to release methane gas which is a major contributor to climate change.

Composting is the decomposition of organic materials in the presence of oxygen. This process does not produce greenhouse gasses but creates a nutrient-rich product that can be used to improve soil fertility and grow plants that help clean and cool our environment.

Almost anyone can start composting using one of several methods. It can be a complicated process or one that is hassle-free, depending on how involved you want to get. The internet has thousands of resources for all kinds of situations including apartment dwellers.

The following items can be composted:

  • Yard waste
  • Grass
  • Leaves
  • Fresh food scraps
  • Old leftover food
  • Coffee and tea grounds
  • Filters
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Pet fur
  • Hair

I prefer what I call lazy composting. I have a mesh barrel-sized container just outside my back door where I chuck most of my organic waste and leave it to do its decomposition thing. Some people prefer to be diligent about balancing carbon (brown materials) and nitrogen (green materials) containing inputs. There are some who use red worms to accelerate the decomposition of materials, especially in small indoor spaces. There are some expensive compost bins and thousands of DIY versions that cost almost nothing.

There are also resources available if you need to outsource your composting. Yard waste that is too bulky for your home bin can be dropped off at Fort Wayne’s Biosolids Handling Facility. Allen County is also lucky to have some businesses starting up that will offer pick-up services for your compostable waste.

Any organic material kept out of landfills is a step in the right direction toward mitigating climate change and creating a resilient community. Taking on this relatively small change in lifestyle can make a big difference while giving you the satisfaction of knowing you are doing something to help the entire planet. ACDEM can help you get started composting or provide more information on other services available. Contact us for more information.


Sustainability Awards Nominations are Open!

Nominations are due by November 15

  • You may nominate an Allen County business, organization, person, or yourself! Please provide as much detailed information as possible. Winners will be chosen by ACDEM staff based on innovation, outreach, quantities of material, creativity, or other outstanding circumstances. Awards will be presented at a future Commissioners' Legislative Session.
 

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Tox-Away Tuesday closed September 17 for staff training

The Allen County Department of Environmental Management’s (ACDEM) Tox-Away Tuesday program for household hazardous waste (HHW) disposal will close Tuesday, Sept. 17 for staff training. ACDEM’s Household Hazardous Waste facility, located at 2260 Carroll Road, Fort Wayne, will continue regular Tox-Away Tuesday hours Tuesday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The HHW drop-off facility is open to the public every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and select Saturdays (September 7 and October 12) in partnership with the City of Fort Wayne. Allen County residents are encouraged to review the fees (cash or check only), guidelines of the items accepted, and directions here in advance. Residents can also find the facility by searching “ACDEM’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility” in Google Maps.


Tox-Away Saturdays

The Allen County Department of Environmental Management and the City of Fort Wayne have partnered to expand ACDEM’s weekly “Tox-Away Tuesdays” collection of household hazardous waste (HHW) products for Allen County residents to Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on the following dates:

  • September 7
  • October 12

ACDEM’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility is a place for Allen County residents to safely dispose of unwanted household hazardous waste. These materials, if not disposed of properly, can be dangerous to our health and the environment.

Please consider the following options before taking your household hazardous waste to the HHW Facility:

  • Reduce waste by buying only what you need
  • Purchase less toxic options
  • Share leftovers with family, friends, and neighbors who need them

Review product guidelines, fees (cash or check only), and directions here: https://bit.ly/2lO5RK4

Drop-off Hours: Saturdays (select dates) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: 2260 Carroll Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Please enter the facility from Fort Recovery Road via Lima Road.

Cost: Minimal fees and material limits will apply (review fees here: https://bit.ly/2lO5RK4)

Contact ACDEM at info@acwastewatcher.org or 260-449-7878 if you have any questions.


Ready to Rescue Food?

40% of food is wasted in the US, while 1 in 7 people are food insecure. You can help by downloading the Food Rescue US app and registering to be a food runner! We have donations that need to be delivered every day of the week and could use your help. It’s easy! Review simple instructions here, then claim a rescue!


Recycling Drop-off sites closed July 4

Our offices and Community Recycling Drop-off Sites in Allen County will be closed Thursday, July 4. All drop-off sites will reopen July 5 for your after-party recycling needs! 


New hours for Community Recycling Drop-off Sites

ACDEM’s Community Recycling Drop-off Sites with attendants in Allen County have new business hours (excluding Monroeville), effective Jan. 21: 

Tuesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

❄️ ACDEM’s Community Recycling Drop-off Sites will be closed if the air temperature is at, around, or below zero, until the weather improves for the safety of attendants.

♻️ Recycling guidelines: acwastewatcher.org/recycle/recycling-tips


Live Christmas tree recycling available until Jan. 11

Allen County residents may drop off and recycle their live Christmas trees at various locations free of charge until Friday, Jan. 11.

Ornaments, tinsel, and plastic bags must be removed from live trees prior to dropping them off at recycling locations. Wreaths are not accepted at live tree recycling locations.

Allen County residents may drop off their live trees at the following locations:

Fort Wayne Area

Allen County Highway Garage

2234 Carroll Road, Fort Wayne

Hours: 24/7 

Bio-Solids, Lime & Yard Waste Recycling

6202 Lake Ave., Fort Wayne

Hours: Monday-Friday: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed New Year’s Day.

Grabill / Leo-Cedarville Area

Metea County Park

8401 Union Chapel Road, Fort Wayne

Hours: Monday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

New Haven Area

City Hall— North Side

815 Lincoln Highway E., New Haven

Hours: 24/7

Jury Park Pool

1702 Glencoe Blvd., New Haven

Hours: 24/7

Meadowbrook School—Parking Lot

1065 Woodmere Drive, New Haven

Hours: 24/7

For questions or concerns regarding live tree recycling, contact Allen County Department of  Environmental Management at 260-449-7878 or info@acwastewatcher.org.