KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The City of Knoxville just started its composting program this week. Officials say it’s a chance for people living in Knoxville and business owners to cut down on food waste.

The Owner of Good Golly Tamale, Matt Miller, is one of the local business owners excited about the composting pilot program.

“I believe in composting, I believe in not wasting, ” said Miller “As a small business owner efficiency is really important and we try not to waste anything if we can help it.”

Miller is also thankful he has support in his composting goals from the city. It’s something he started when his business first opened eight years ago. He said lately it’s been a challenge.

“In the early days we used to try and compost everything at my house,” said Miller. “I got a little bit out of hand, it was a lot, that sort of just like went on pause and we haven’t really been composting for a while.”

Knoxville’s Waste and Resources Manager said while it took some time to get off the ground, the growth of the city made this program that much more important.

“There’s a lot of people moving to Knoxville that may have had services similar to this at other places,” said Patience Melnick. “For those who can’t backyard compost, whether they have space issues or just don’t want to bother with it, we now have a place where they can take their food scraps.”

People can now bring some of their food scraps to the composting bins at the Old City Recycling Drop-Off Center under the interstate, avoiding the landfill.

“In the landfill, they break down without oxygen, and when they do that they produce methane, which is a really potent greenhouse gas which of course contributes to climate change,” explained Melnick.

Instead, little bugs will consume the food waste, turning it into a substance that can go back into the Earth.

“Once a week, AmeriCorps members come and move that material to Battlefield Farms, which is a nonprofit community farm and teaching farm,” said Melnick of the process. “Then it goes into a composter which was built by City Possum Farm with funding from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.”

It’s a process they see evolving as more families and businesses join the composting movement across Knoxville.

“It’s just really nice to feel supported by the city,” concluded Miller.

Melnick said they are starting with only a few composting bins, but said adding more can be done in the future as the program and an interest in composting grows.

The only items accepted in the composting bins are fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, coffee filters, and nutshells.

Those who are interested in putting food in the composting bins, they will need to take a quiz before being awarded the lock combination.