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Dutchess County launches 2024 Composting Grant for municipalities and schools

Providing local and convenient composting opportunities to residents

Dutchess County launches 2024 Composting Grant for municipalities and schools

As Earth Day events such as Dutchess County’s raise awareness of reducing waste in the community, the Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste Management has launched a new grant program for municipalities to purchase and install composting equipment to provide local and convenient composting opportunities to residents. The County is offering matching grant funds, up to $50,000 per project, to partner with towns, villages and cities – as well as public schools – that are looking to reduce food and organic waste through composting.

The new grant program will enable local municipalities to purchase and install “in-vessel aerobic composters” that will allow people to conveniently dispose of organic residuals, potentially including food scraps, close to home. The composting machines provide a controlled decomposition process to turn the organic materials into beneficial composted material, which residents can then take home for use as rich soil addictive or mulch for gardening and landscaping.

County Executive Sue Serino said, “We are excited to partner with local towns, cities, villages and schools through this new Composting Grant program – to get food scraps and other organics out of the garbage and put them to good use as compost – as part of our continuing efforts to protect our environment for generations to come.”

Increasing organic composting opportunities is one of the goals of Dutchess County’s Local Solid Waste Management Plan. With the support of the Dutchess County Legislature, the 2024 County Budget included $200,000 to support the 2024 Composting Grant to empower local communities to take action against food waste and promote waste reduction.

Individual grant awards are available up to $50,000, which would include the purchase of the in-vessel composting system; and the ancillary installation costs such as piping, electrical work, concrete slab and roofing material. All funds will be paid on a reimbursement basis. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to funding the local 50 percent match of total eligible project costs, within 12 months of being awarded. Organizations awarded funding will be required to submit quarterly progress reports, and projects must be completed and operational by September 1, 2026.

Local schools are also eligible to apply for grant funding to install composting vessels. These systems would be for materials created by the school district’s cafeterias, etc. and would not be for public use.

The Commissioner of Dutchess County Planning & Development and Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Solid Waste Management will review applications based on the quality of the work plan, and then make recommendations to the County Executive for final review and approval.

The Composting Grant Program is Dutchess County’s latest initiative in ongoing efforts to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment. Dutchess County is Bronze Certified under New York State’s Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program, a statewide network of communities with common environmental goals, including increased energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The County will be applying for Silver Certification this year, having completed, or in the process of completing, multiple steps to earn this elite designation. Only four New York counties have earned Silver-level CSC certification.

Planning & Development Commissioner Eoin Wrafter said, “By investing in community-based composting initiatives, Dutchess County can enhance local soil and contribute to a more resilient and sustainable local food system. Dutchess County is eager to partner with local communities and schools that share our commitment to environmental conservation and food waste reduction.”

The 2024 Composting Grant application instructions and guidance are now available on the County’s Division of Solid Waste Management website. For inquiries or assistance with the application process, applicants can contact the Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste Management at 845-463-6020 or

For residents interested in backyard composting, the Division of Solid Waste Management continues to offer backyard compost bins for purchase at reduced cost to residents. More information about purchasing a backyard compost bin is available online.

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