by Mary Morgan

“I liked the discount” — Hampton Bays

“My current recycling system is getting to be more than I can handle” — Orient

“I want something easier than my backyard compost” — East Marion

“My worm bin does not process enough food scraps”  — Mattituck

So said early-birds in a pilot program launched this August by the Long Island Organics Council (LIOC) and the Canadian company Food Cycle Science. 

Dubbed the East End Countertop Recycler Pilot, it is part of a regional effort by LIOC to encourage composting and to divert food scraps from town waste streams. Available to households in the five East End towns, admission is open now to December 31, 2023.

Pilot participants are offered a choice of two countertop composting appliances that quickly break down food scraps at discount prices and asked to submit usage data in an online survey after 12-week usage. 

“We want to offer a countertop food recycler appliance at a low price to as many East Enders as possible to demonstrate its effectiveness to divert food from the waste stream” said Beth Fiteni, cofounder of Long Island Organics Council. The appliance by-product, a soil enrichment, can become compost.  

“Both reducing food waste and composting are impactful climate solutions,” she said. 

“We also want a way to involve young people,” said Judy Greco, LIOC co-founder. As part of the partnership, for every 50 participants signing on, Long Island Organics Council will receive a free FoodCycler appliance destined for a local school.

My Chickens Go Nuts!

Participant Rebecca Wenner Esq. of Westhampton Beach has a small flock of chickens in her yard, which she houses at night. She says “things are going great with my countertop composter” and the dry byproduct has become a special treat for her chickens. 

“I run the machine on average every other day,” she told us, cooking brunch and dinner five nights a week for two people, on average. “I put all types of food waste in the composter, no meat, no fish, no oil. I use the countertop composter exclusively for kitchen waste and it has reduced my garbage significantly, as well as eliminated my guilt when throwing out good compostable kitchen waste into the trash. Now I turn my waste into a soil amendment and chicken snack! I have put tea bags (no staples), coffee grinds, corn cobs, peel from beets, carrots, bananas, pepper waste and more into my composter. I have not put onion in the composter, as I am worried about odor, but I may attempt that in the future”   

And how does this become a chicken snack?  

“I take the dry soil amendment and dump it into various ornamental garden beds at my house, throw a cup of worms on top and the chickens go nuts eating it and digging it into the bed for me.”

What I Like Best:  Easy, No Mess, No Methane

Tom from East Marion signed on knowing he had family visiting, which meant breakfast, lunch and dinner for six, rather than the usual two.  He ran his foodcycler every other night, three times more than usual. 

“It’s all going well,” he said.  

Admittedly the “chef of the house” Tom uses the foodcycler mostly for egg shells and vegetable clippings (cuke ends, tomato tops, lettuce leaves, onion skins.) Typically he doesn’t add bones, telling us “we eat a lot of bluefish filets, not so much meat with bones.”  He makes stock from the occasional beef or pork bone and then “either buries them in the garden under a new planting (roses love calcium) or I burn them in the fireplace — very economical.”

His favorite thing? “No mess, no trudging to the outdoor compost, I keep the scrap bucket covered on the counter, the appliance under our kitchen bar, and turn it on at night.  I press the button and in the morning voila, dry tea leaves I call them.”  

Tom’s 10-year-old nephew, Clyde, visiting from LA, was intrigued.  

“He liked the whole idea of this bread-box looking appliance reduces food scraps by 90 percent into dry leaves.”  Clyde, Tom said, “knew all about food waste releasing methane, a huge climate polluter. He’s from California, where they are way ahead of us in diverting food from the waste stream. I told him that my favorite thing was that this helped me make sure that I’m not releasing any methane. Instead I’m enriching soil!”  

And There’s Farm Drop-Off Locations

The dry by-product of the foodcycler is a dry, inert soil amendment, free of pathogens and weed seeds, which can be mixed into garden soil or added to compost, acting as an accelerator. Studies by the St. Lawrence River Institute found it to be rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Some local farms are drop off sites.

 Look for the covered buckets at Macari Vineyards, 150 Bergen Avenue, Mattituck, Oysterponds Berry Farm, 24850 Main Rd., Orient, and Harvest Inn B+B, 40300 Main Rd, Peconic has a drop-off bucket on their porch. 

How to join?: www.fcs-events.com/foodcycler-longisland

Questions: EastEndCountertopRecyclerPilot@gmail.com


Mary CF Morgan of Drawdown East End is taking the #Dare2Drawdown challenge, buying her food this summer at local farmstands like Latham’s in Orient.

Former Locavore, now a Climatarian, sailor, beachcomber Mary Morgan lives in Orient with her husband Tom, naturalist and mushroom forager, early founders the local chapter Slow Food East End in 2004. Four years ago Mary co-founded a grassroots East End effort inspired by Project Drawdown dedicated to local solutions to reverse global warming. 

Climate Local Now is a partnership between the East End Beacon and two leaders of Drawdown East End, a grass-root group with a mission to inspire local solutions to reverse global warming. 

East End Beacon
The East End Beacon is your guide to social and environmental issues, arts & culture on the East End of Long Island.

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