Government Support for Community Composting Part 5: Food-Scrap Drop-Off Partnerships with Local Government

Date: 27 Mar 2023 | posted in: Composting | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Are you a local government interested in reducing and recycling wasted food and curious to learn how you can help spur community-scale composting? Or perhaps you are a community-oriented composter, farmer, or micro hauler searching for public-private partnerships.

In Part 5 of our Government Support for Community Composting webinar series, Sashti Balasundaram, Founder of WeRadiate, will share case studies from Western New York – the City of Buffalo, Town of Amherst, and Erie County – in which local community composters and volunteers advocate and work alongside elected officials to bring forth change. He will be joined by representatives from three local governments.


This live webinar took place on: April 19th, 2023

A recording is available at the link below for those who did not register for the live session.



The fee to watch this webinar recording is $20
Participation in this series is free for Community Composter Coalition members (use code CCC), farmers (use code FARMER) and for local government (use code LOCGOV)!

This webinar is one in a series the Institute for Local Self-Reliance offers to support a distributed and diverse composting infrastructure that includes community-sized and on-farm composting. To view and listen to our library of past composting-related webinar recordings, click HERE.


Sashti Balasundaram – Founder
WeRadiate (New York) Sashti Balasundaram is a social entrepreneur, innovator, and educator. He founded WeRadiate LLC, an AgTech company that develops smart sensors that digitally track data variables such as compost temperature and humidity. This technology makes it easier for operators to ensure healthy, high-quality standards. Sashti has vast knowledge in community composting; he was a teacher of the NYC Master Composter program, co-founded a community garden in Brooklyn, worked at the Lower East Side Ecology Center in NYC, and the Mayor’s Office in the City of Buffalo as the recycling representative.
John Szalasny – Chair
Recycling and Waste Citizens Advisory Committee (Town of Amherst, New York) John Szalasny is the current chair of the Recycling and Waste citizens advisory committee in the Town of Amherst, NY. He originally joined the committee interested in how they could reduce plastic waste (a very challenging issue) but quickly got involved in a new volunteer initiative to collect organic kitchen scraps for composting. Starting with community education and monitored collections 3 hours a week, they now also have a permanent, unmonitored drop-off site and a composting site for collections that is operated by the Town.
Gary Carrel – Solid Waste Recycling Specialist
Environment & Planning (Erie County, New York) Gary Carrel is a Solid Waste Recycling Specialist in the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning with responsibilities related to hazardous waste collection, waste reduction, recycling and composting. He works with residents, municipalities and departments within Erie County on ways to promote reuse, reduction and recycling. Additionally, Gary has been actively involved with numerous environmentally-based groups and organizations in the Buffalo area and is currently the Co-Chair of the WNY Earth Day Steering Committee. He is the president of the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3). His dedication was acknowledged in 2018 as a recipient of the Recycling Leadership Award in the public sector category from NYSAR3.
Danielle Rovillo – Project Coordinator
Office of Health Equity, Erie County Department of Health (Buffalo, New York) Danielle is a food systems planner, a member of the local Food Policy Council, and professionally trained as a Farmers Market Manager by the Farmers Market Federation of NY. Danielle’s career is uniquely focused on food equity and cultural responsiveness. While running a nonprofit mobile produce market program for nearly a decade, Danielle developed a full-service community development model for the program that built trust within diverse communities, welcomed generational wisdom, and met consumers where they are at in terms of both socio-economic status and food system knowledge. Culturally-responsive food procurement, waste management and reduction tips, and cooking confidence-building, combined with community partnerships for nutrition education, made this program a beloved resource in many communities across the City of Buffalo. Today, Danielle manages the development, design, and distribution of culturally-responsive public health resources that address the social determinants of health.



Brenda Platt - Director, Composting for Community Initiative, Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), Washington, DC

Brenda and her team at ILSR are supporting community-scale composters via forums, webinars, podcasts, guides, policies, training, and more. In 2017, the US Composting Council awarded her its H. Clark Gregory Award for outstanding service to the composting industry through grassroots efforts. In 2019, BioCycle magazine featured Brenda as one of its organics recycling trailblazers. She has a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from The George Washington University.

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Brenda Platt directs ILSR's Composting for Community project.