Bellingham Housing Authority complex catching on to compost program

A composting pilot project at one of the Bellingham Housing Authority’s largest apartment complexes is showing signs of success after a mid-June start, according to an announcement from Sustainable Connections, which is working with the housing authority to implement waste-reduction strategies.

Washington Square, a public housing unit in Bellingham’s Lettered Streets district, is leading the pilot project, known as Food Plus!. After starting out with one 60-gallon container inside the building, residents have taken to the program so well that four additional containers have since been added. Developers with Sustainable Connections said Washington Square’s success could lead to similar programs at other affordable housing units in Bellingham.

“There is so much organic waste that is currently thrown away that could go into FoodPlus! and become compost right here in Whatcom County instead of being thrown away and traveling by train all the way to southeast Washington,” said Mariah Ross of Sustainable Connections, in a press release.

The program is part of the Green Communities project, which began in 2010 after organizers received $9.9 million in stimulus funds—part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. With the grant money, project organizers have worked to improve energy efficiency and make green building updates to a number of the Bellingham Housing Authority’s residential complexes, including Lincoln Square in the York neighborhood, Chuckanut Square in Fairhaven, as well as the Washington Square building. Updates to those complexes include new hot-water heating systems run by rooftop solar panels, energy-efficient lighting and lighting controls and courtyard rainwater harvesting systems for irrigation.

For more information, visit Sustainable Connections online.

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