NEW MILFORD — Residents could soon recycle organics and receive some compost in return.

New Milford in is the process of joining Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority’s program, which started in Bridgewater in 2014. The program now includes Ridgefield and Newtown. Redding and New Fairfield are also expected to join.

“It’s a growing trend and I would like New Milford to be a leader on it,” Mayor David Gronbach said at Monday’s council meeting.

Each town varies slightly in fees and pick up.

“It’s another waste stream that doesn’t have to be in the landfills,” Gronbach said.

Town council unanimously authorized Gronbach to apply for a grant through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that would allow the town to create and implement the program.

Participants would be given a kit that includes compostable bags, a 1 1/2-gallon bin to keep in the kitchen and a seven-gallon locked container to keep outside.

Under the program, residents would bring food and garden scraps to the town’s recycling center, where the materials would be consolidated for transfer to New England Compost in Danbury. In the spring, participants would be eligible to receive free compost on a first-come, first-served basis.

The program will accept meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, dairy products, garden waste, houseplants, flowers, fruits, nuts, bread, pastas, grains, sauces, soups, gravy, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, bones and pits. Vegetables are also accepted but stickers, bands and ties must be removed.

One of the council members said she thought it was a great idea. She said she composts already, but this could be better because it could help reduce the amount of bears spotted in residents’ yards because bears are attracted to the compost.

Gronbach agreed. He suggested the town’s recycling center serving as the primary location could inspire more residents to compost.

HRRA director Jen Iannucci came up with the idea a few years ago as a way to achieve the state’s goal of reducing solid waste by 60 percent by 2024. She said organics are the biggest percentage of the waste stream, which is burned with incinerators to create energy. She said organics don’t create a lot of energy because they don’t burn well and are more valuable as compost.

Gronbach said the center has space for the organics and was a win-win for the town.

“Especially for New Milford with its agricultural background,” he said. “It’s very fitting.”

kkoerting@newstimes.com; 203-731-3345; @kkoerting