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The Many Positive Effects of Food Waste Recycling in Massachusetts

Chances are that you recycle or have recycled something at least once in your life. To a certain extent, "green" has become a way of life in our society. Even if you never stop to think about the environment or reducing your carbon footprint, it's hard to watch TV, read a magazine or shop for anything without running into a green product or a company with green business practices -- which is a good thing.

Possibly the next big step in recycling relates to food waste. Did you know that food waste accounts for approximately 28 percent of all trash? According to Patricia Welch, founder and president of Positive Effects, LLC, food waste recycling is a cost-effective solution that benefits the economy, environment, food supply, local communities and society at large. Her Plymouth, Mass.-based company is enthusiastically committed to promoting the positive effects of food waste recycling. I recently had the pleasure of connecting with Patricia to learn about some of the issues involved and what her company does. Continue reading below to find out what she has to say about their groundbreaking program. (You can learn more about the company here.)

"The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create."
--Leonard I. Sweet

Positive Effects, LLC provides positive solutions for towns and cities for all residential food waste. My inspiration for starting this company comes from growing up poor, having working parents but never having enough to eat because of unexpected expenses, such as medical bills.

Chart of landfill waste. Source:Positive Effects, LLC website.
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Just two years ago, the rate of unemployment in Massachusetts was over 10 percent. These days, too many people are having even tougher times meeting ends at the end of the month and too many kids go hungry. Our business model is based on hiring those people that have been unemployed six months or more first, to help get them back to work. We consider it a hand up, not a hand out, and one that will help us all along the way by building their self-esteem and helping to build a better local economy by creating better buying power.

We offer curbside pick-up and, with the costs of disposal per ton continuously on the rise, we are happy to say that we provide disposal per ton at zero cost, which saves all cities and towns a lot of money. We also provide other recycling programs for Styrofoam, plastic bags, Christmas trees, and brush and yard waste. We also provide low-cost options for transfer stations to have our program in there where people come to drop off and swap out the receptacles containing all their food waste. Again, these are all positive solutions, hence the name of the company: Positive Effects, LLC.

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Food waste recycling enables us to lower our carbon footprint with an easy solution that benefits the general population in the best possible ways. It helps create a greener, cleaner society and helps eliminate rodents in cities because it cuts off their food supply. The process puts the nutrients back into the soil where it belongs, for later use.

Other places have been known to have food waste composting in New York, Seattle and some smaller towns in other states, as well as Canada. The demand is high, but it is costly to do for the average person and we are now three years into our business. Currently approximately 28 percent of all trash is food waste, which can be considered to be more than 50 percent of the weight and 100 percent of the smell.

The way we have structured our business is to compost the food waste at participating local farms, to help put nutrients back into their soil. We use composting facilities to compost the waste in the cold or overly wet seasons. By doing so, the farms are growing bigger, better and more nutritious produce, along with eliminating pesticides and most other chemicals. The local farms who participate give back a percentage of the produce to their town or city's food pantries and shelters to help those that are most in need.

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One of the most common questions I'm asked is, "How long does it take to compost food?" The answer is, depending on the season, less than two months if done correctly and longer in colder months. Another commonly asked question is, "Do you recycle anything else?" Yes, we do. We have other recycling programs for different things: Styrofoam, plastic bags, Christmas trees, and brush and yard waste. Each of them is handled in different fashions, which you can read more about on our website.

Positive Effects, LLC has several exciting things that we are currently working on and will share publicly when the time is right. Many good things are about to happen with regard to food waste recycling in our great state of Massachusetts. We are also hiring for full- and part-time positions in many different communities throughout Massachusetts.

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Since we started, we have learned a lot, grown a lot and added more types of recycling programs. We currently serve all of Massachusetts and we have approximately 8,775 customers just on the south shore, as of Sept. 2014. People love how easy it is to participate and make a difference for so many people in need, from something that they normally pay to throw away in their regular trash. Now there's a great way to recycle food waste and other items. It really is a win-win!

Patricia Welch is the founder and president of Positive Effects, LLC. She is a business professional with over 25 years of experience, who's main goal is to make a difference in a throwaway society while employing the unemployed and feeding those in need. She believes in leaving behind a positive effect for future generations to come. You can reach her at: positiveeffectsllc [at] You can visit Positive Effects, LLC's website here.

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