The Philadelphia Prison System recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new food-waste composting facility.
The event took place outside Holmesburg Prison. Commissioner Louis Giorla and project manager Laura Cassidy were joined by officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Aramark Food Services, neighborhood residents and Mike Tomlinson, the Republican candidate in the 5th Senatorial District.
Last year, the EPA’s Region III office in Center City awarded a $15,000 solid waste grant to the prison system, which provides more than 23,000 meals a day.
As part of the green initiative, the system trained inmates to manage the composting of food waste from prison facilities.
The pilot project takes place at Riverside Correctional Facility, on State Road. It has an average daily population of 650 and produces an estimated 150 pounds of food waste per day.
At the end of each meal served in prison, whatever isn’t consumed is discarded as rubbish into landfills at $77 a ton.
Composting food scraps will reduce landfill charges, which will save the city money. Once the system is completely functional, and the food waste from the more than 9,000 inmates in the six Philadelphia prisons is composted, it could save the city more than $250,000 a year.
As an added benefit, some of the converted high-quality organic fertilizer will be used in prison greenhouses. Also, community gardens will receive rich top soil from the compost.
In addition, prisoners will receive green certifications, which can help them with employment opportunities after their release. ••EndFragment