Edgartown hears composting system pitch

IGI is proposing a regional food waste composting system.

Updated 7:10 pm 

The Martha’s Vineyard Food Waste Initiative is planning to ask Island towns at their 2022 town meetings for funds to allocate to a regional food waste composting system.

In a short presentation to Edgartown selectmen Monday, Eunice Youmans, Island Grown Initative’s food waste initiative director, said the Island’s No. 1 export is garbage, about 19,000 tons a year. Of that, she estimates 6,500 tons is food, and costs the Island about $740,000. 

“The reason the in-vessel was chosen is because food waste goes in, and what comes out in three days smells like dirt, looks like dirt, is unrecognizable from what went in. It doesn’t attract vectors like rats and seagulls,” Youmans said.

Don Hatch, manager of the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District, said the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection likes the projected plans for a composting system.

Selectman Arthur Smadbeck said he was part of a group that went to Nantucket several years ago when the Vineyard’s neighbor put in a composting system on their Island.

“We approached the state and asked, What are the chances Martha’s Vineyard could do this? We were rebuffed a little bit back then, we were told they were waiting to see how it worked with Nantucket. Presumably it worked pretty well,” he said.

He added that getting the six towns together complicates the issue “dramatically.”

“It’s not something that can’t be overcome, it just has to be addressed,” Smadbeck said. “I would suggest you concentrate on a population formula … If you stick with a population formula I think you’ll have better luck. That’s my opinion.”

Town administrator James Hagerty said that nonprofits can’t be directly funded by the town, and would have to go through a financial intermediary such as the county.

In other business, selectmen set a public hearing for March 22 for proposed alterations to the Edgartown Yacht Club. 

Selectmen also set a hearing for the town’s outdoor dining policy for the upcoming summer season on March 29 at 4 pm. Selectmen approved an outdoor dining policy in June 2020 amid the ongoing pandemic.


Updated to correct MV Food Waste Initiative is seeking regional support.  –Ed.