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Applications open for Phoenix food waste, composting program

Up to 400 eligible households in Phoenix can receive a yearlong composting service at no charge. The city is working with the Radical Simplicity Lab in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University on the Food Waste Watchers program.

Low to moderate income residents from qualifying census tracts can apply for the program. They’ll learn how to collect and dispose of food waste so it can be used as compost and learn strategies to reduce food waste through grocery shopping, storage and cooking concepts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says an average family of four loses $1,500 annually to uneaten food.

Applications are being accepted through Jan. 5. A Phoenix spokesperson could not give an exact budget for the program but said the city will use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to serve up to 400 households.

The following information comes from the city’s website:

Application Requirements

Location :

  • Live within the boundaries of the following urban villages including Estrella, Laveen, Maryvale, Alhambra, Central City, South Mountain villages and food desert areas in Deer Valley and North Mountain.  ​​Find your village here.
  • Live within a low- to moderate-income census tract within the boundaries noted above.

Income :

Have an annual household income per the U.S. Housing & Urban Development (HUD) FY2023 Limits as follows:

# of people in household

1​​

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Annual income

$52,400

$59,850

$67,350

$74,800

$80,800

$86,800

$92,800

$98,750

The applicant is expected to:

  • Be 18 years of age or older to participate
  • Be primary person who buys and prepares food for the household
  • Participate in the program for the full year
  • Be willing to provide data to the City, ASU, or its partners throughout the duration of the program
  • Partake in self-directed education using provided online tool
  • Complete 15-minute introductory survey on demographics and health
  • Complete two follow-up 10-minute surveys throughout the year
  • Complete weekly 1-2 minue surveys for 5 weeks.
  • Complete weekly food waste collection for 50 weeks.
  • Optional: Partake in an in-depth interview upon completion of the program.​

​City of Phoenix employees are not eligible for this program.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.