Left over food could be turned into fuel as part of two pilot programs set to launch this spring. The cities of South Portland and Scarborough will collect food waste like pasta, coffee grounds, egg shells and even meat as part of the weekly curbside pickup.

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The goal is to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill. In South Portland, the one year program will be tested at 600 homes in the Knightville and Meeting House Hill neighborhoods at a cost of $43,700, according to Asst. City Manager Joshua Reny. Scarborough's nine month program will start with about 180 homes in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood.

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Reny says the city will expand the program to more households if it's considered successful. He says that will likely be determined by participation and the cost to implement a wider reaching program. Reny says it's all part of the city's goal to reach a 40% recycling rate by 2020.

Each of the households in the pilot program will get a special bin for food waste collection. Garbage-to-Garden will pick up the waste in South Portland and Pine Tree Waste will collect the food trash in Scarborough. In both communities, residents who'd like to participate, but aren't in the pilot program, can drop off food waste in special bins at their respective transfer stations.

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The scraps will be taken to Ecomaine in Portland and eventually shipped to Exeter Agri-Energy where an anaerobic digester will covert the organic food waste, along with cow manure, into electricity and compost.

Both programs start in May.