The holidays mean a lot of time spent with family and friends. That often includes plenty of food. But with those celebrations also comes a lot of garbage and food waste.

Environmentalists say this is the perfect time to start thinking about composting.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 70 billion pounds of food waste finds its way to landfills every year. During the holidays, waste typically increases by about 25%.

The Town of Bethlehem has been composting yard waste for more than two decades. Recently, the municipality teamed up with Food Scraps 360 to begin collecting discarded food as well.

The hope is to make the program as easy as possible.

"Well, that’s the goal, anyway. We’re still growing our capacity down here and we’re still learning, perfecting how to do it,” says Dan Rain, Bethlehem’s recycling coordinator.

Food Scraps 360 travels to people’s homes to collect disposable waste placed inside buckets.

Troy is the latest municipality to jump on board. The city recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has helped to launch a pilot program with Food Scraps 360.

“Not everyone has the ability to compost in their backyard. With the residents of Troy, not everyone has a backyard,” says Naomi Pitkin, the city of Troy’s recycling specialist.

Regardless if someone has a backyard, programs like this help to deter that waste. Those behind it say it’s an effort to make sure garbage doesn’t create larger problems.

“If we have our landfills fill up, then we have to have transfer stations where we bring all of our garbage that gets put in a truck, and then they drive it down the Thruway to Geneseo where there’s the next landfill that’s not filled up yet and put our garbage there, which is terrible for the environment, and then when there’s fill up, then what do we do?” says Diana Wright, owner of Food Scraps 360.

“We have to bring it to what, Ohio? So we need to be reducing as much waste as possible and this is the best. This is literally, this is the low hanging fruit.”

Participants in the program are given a bag of compost that’s created at Bethlehem’s facility. The hope is municipalities statewide will be able to do something similar.