WESTPORT — Food.

It costs more in these inflationary times. So it makes sense to waste as little of it as possible.

But for whatever food waste you produce, it also makes sense to dispose of those scraps via the “Zero Food Waste Challenge.” The program is coordinated by Sustainable Westport, the local group promoting environmentally focused initiatives, ranging from transportation to energy to landscaping.

The food waste program, inaugurated in April 2020 during the pandemic lockdown, is being re-launched by Sustainable Westport to renew public attention on its mission.

The Zero Food Waste Challenge goal is to reduce Westport’s residential food waste by 25 percent — a lofty goal when “nearly 1 in 4 bags of groceries purchased gets thrown out,” according to the Sustainable Westport website.

So far, the group says, about 450 local households have signed up for the challenge, and about 171 tons of food scraps have been collected since the initiative’s start.

But the effort has fallen short of the 48 tons of food the group aims to divert from the general waste stream on a monthly basis.

Hence, the initiative’s re-launch.

Food disposed in the general waste stream, according to Sustainable Westport, is “heavy, expensive to transport and [does not] burn well in the waste-to-energy incinerator where all of Westport’s solid waste goes.”

Several benefits result by composting food instead of tossing it into the waste stream, the group says.

“When converted into compost, [food scraps] capture valuable nutrients and water, and return them to the ground, sequestering carbon, improving soil quality and cleaning.”

Composting can take place on an individual basis at home, by signing up with a commercial food scrap hauler servicing Westport, or by bringing scraps to designated collection bins at Westport’s transfer station on the Sherwood Island Connector.

For more information about the program, click here.