Category Archives: General

More Worm Castings, Less Contaminants

Well that was quick- another big tray of worm castings.  The yellow bin is what I pulled yesterday, and the blue tub is my main container.

Recently I posted all the contaminants I found in my last batch– this time was much better, but I still missed a few fruit labels.

Quite an improvement over the last batch!

 

How to Build the Ultimate Compost Bin (Rodale’s Organic Life)

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-to-build-compost-bin

Check the link above for a semi-technical three-bin design that will result in the most hassle-free composting there is.  If I had the space for a three-bin system, I’d be on it in an instant.

In other words, when you work with large bins, there’s much more room for error as opposed to a worm system or composting with a pair of trash cans.

The only aspect of this design that I deviate from is the process itself- I don’t turn compost at all, so I’d just keep the middle bin full of cover materials, add to the first bin for up to a year using cover materials from the middle bin, then work on the third bin when the first is at capacity.

 

How to Make Compost From Your Poo with a Composting Toilet! – Closing the Loop

It’s always exciting to see a new compost toilet video online… I’m not alone!

It really is simple- just read Humanure Handbook by Joe Jenkins a few times and get to it.  It’s a great read and he knows what he’s doing…he backs the whole book with a ton of cited research.

The only area I differ from their process is that I also add my cat’s waste to the system, too.

Jenkins doesn’t make a strong claim in his book about composting pet waste- I’m willing to take the risk.  I use swheat scoop cat litter and just add it to my compost toilet buckets along with my own deposits.

I let the pile sit for 18 months (instead of 12) and use the finished compost for solely horticultural purposes.

All good.

Compost Contractors Hit By Sudden Termination

Ouch… good luck loading up a landfill instead.

Island residents must feel the pressure to minimize their waste due to more limited living space, right?

In order to exist going forward, we need fertile soil for food production and a drastic cut to our greenhouse gas emissions.  Composting is the solution to both of those.

Mayor Kim needs to create a task force to manage the back-end distribution of compost, period.  It may seem like a burden, but it’s critical to keep the island functioning in the long run.

Reverting to landfilling is going to hurt- I think they’ll realize they screwed up pretty soon.

Proposed compost site causing stink in the suburbs

Original link: http://wgntv.com/2017/03/15/proposed-compost-site-causing-stink-in-the-suburbs/

DES PLAINES, Ill. — Some suburban residents say “not in my neighborhood” to a proposal to build a composting site on a former landfill in Des Plaines.

The site is located across from Oakton Community College and the concern is the odor the compost might create.

The commercial compost site would be located on a landfill that has been closed since 1986 and would utilize 25 of the existing 160 acres.

The composting would not include meat or dairy products.

Attorney Jim Griffin represents the backers of the compost operation. He says a company called Patriot Acres LLC would lease the site from the archdiocese.

“The owner of the parcel is the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago,” Griffin said. “It’s going to be beneficial because it’s going to be good for the environment.”

Cook County’s Zoning Board of Appeals voted in favor of it.

It will now go to the full board for consideration.

Opponents of the proposal who live nearby say it’s going to make an already busy Central Road even more so and widening the road is not an option because of a nearby viaduct.

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I always get frustrated when I see opposition headlines about composting in the news.

This all stems from a lack of education and awareness, which are both fixable challenges.  The mythical negative perception of composting seem to hold it back from its true potential.

I find it ironic that the proposed site is directly on top of a landfill.

Although the landfill has been closed since 1986, you can be sure that’s still leaching and emitting away.

I’m a bit baffled about the ‘no meat or dairy’ clause- adding them will create higher quality compost and there’s no reason to leave them out.

The rules of composting are the same whether or not those materials are being utilized- they are organic materials that need to return to the soil.

I hope the site gets approved and they can educate the naysayers- composting is only a good thing.

New Report from GAIA on the Perils of Incineration

GAIA just dropped a killer new report on the perils of incineration.

What does this have to do with composting, you may ask?

Incineration directly competes with composting (and recycling) programs by destroying perfectly good material and turning it into brand-new toxins to inhale.

Better yet, both composting and recycling are more cost effective, practical solutions that create more jobs than incineration.

We already know how bad incinerators (pyrolysis, gasification, waste-to-energy) are in terms of the pollutants they spew out (dioxin, NOx, SOx, arsenic, mercury, ash, etc), but this report appeals to even the most conservative bean counters.

Incinerators are the most expensive high-risk solution to dealing with waste.

Here’s the official press release and link to the report:

Berkeley, U.S. — A new risk analysis from GAIA finds that companies promoting “waste-to-energy” projects like gasification and pyrolysis have a 30-year track record of failures and unfulfilled promises. After decades of industry promising a solution that both manages waste and produces energy, the vast majority of proposed plants were never built or were shut down.

“The global spotlight on marine plastic pollution has led to increasing proposals for technological solutions. But it’s important that investors recognize these processes do not work as promised and  set us back in developing real solutions,” says report author Monica Wilson.

According to the report Gasification and Pyrolysis: A high risk, low yield investment, “the potential returns on waste gasification are smaller and more uncertain, and the risks much higher, than proponents claim.” Billions of dollars of investments have been wasted on unsuccessful ventures in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, United States and Germany, to name a few. In 2016, the failed UK project by U.S.-based Air Products lost $1 billion alone.

Many gasification projects that started operations, have closed after failing to meet projected energy generation, revenue generation, and emission requirements. Despite decades of opportunity the industry has not resolved these problems. Other projects have failed in the proposal stage — after raising significant investments — due to community opposition and government scrutiny into false and exaggerated claims.

Gasification plants have sought public subsidies to  be profitable — particularly from  feed-in tariffs. However, these facilities would regularly burn fossil fuel-sourced material including plastic waste and coal, contradicting the purpose of “renewable energy.”

Over 100 major environmental organizations released a public letter in February stating that “We are deeply concerned by the promotion of feed-in-tariffs and other renewable energy subsidies for gasification, incineration, and the use of plastics as fuel.”

The report concludes that municipal zero waste programs relying on source separation, recycling,composting, and redesign of no-value products have demonstrated economic and technical success.

Check out the full report by clicking here.