OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) – At the transfer station in Old Saybrook, there are blue barrels that have been set up for more than a year so that people can dump off food waste from their homes.

Many already separate the recyclables from their trash, but Old Saybrook and other towns now feel that if they also separate food waste, they can lighten the load that has to go to incinerators or landfills. With the Hartford incinerator closing, that takes away another option for disposal.

“We are facing a waste disposal crisis in the state of Connecticut,” said Katie Dykes, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection commissioner.

“Historically, it handled about 30% of the trash that is generated in the State of Connecticut with incineration, and so, now we are relying on states outside of Connecticut to accept our waste,” Dykes said.

DEEP has a pilot program that is offering grants to towns that want to participate. The department then sets up similar containers at their transfer stations so that waste can be separated out, and in some cases, composted.

Stonington is one of 15 towns receiving grants through the pilot program and will give residents green buckets with bags to collect the food waste.

“At the end of the week, along with their regular scheduled curbside collection, they would just put the green bag out and it will be picked up by our residential hauler right now,” said Jill Senior, Director of Solid Waste.

It takes about a week to fill up the barrels and once they are full, the food waste is brought to a nearby leaf pile that the town has for composting. EAch barrell holds about 200 pounds of food waste.

When full, the waste is then sent to a pig farm.