Tag Archives: commercial composting

Boston launching pilot composting program (article)

[originally found here: http://www.wasterecyclingnews.com/article/20130813/NEWS08/130819986/boston-launching-pilot-composting-program?utm_campaign=residential_newsletter&utm_medium=residential_email&utm_source=residential_20130814&utm_content=article12]

Boston is launching a pilot, drop-off program to collect organic waste from households and turn it into compost.

The items being accepted for free at three farmers markets include mostly food scraps, such as fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg shells, nut shells, pits and non-greasy items like rice, pasta, bread and cereal. However, house plants and potted soil will be taken, too.

The limited-time program – it ends in late October – represents Boston’s first foray into public composting and will allow city officials to evaluate how residential composting can be part of waste reduction goals.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino said the program was inspired by feedback during community presentations about the city’s urban agricultural zoning amendment and it contributes to his Greenovate Boston initiative to educate the public on climate actions.

“Residents have made it clear that they support a healthier, cleaner Boston that supports local agriculture, healthy food and waste reduction,” Menino said in a statement. “This pilot will show residents how separating food scraps from trash is better for the environment and our bottom-line.”

For the three-month duration of the program, Renewable Waste Solutions will donate supplies and hauling services. The compostable materials will be transported to Rocky Hill Farm in Saugus, Mass., and transformed into fertile soil for use in commercial and personal farming and gardening projects.

“This pilot will set the stage for a larger conversation about innovative ways to continue increasing recycling in Boston, which is imperative to the vitality of our city,” Chief of Environment and Energy Brian Swett said in a statement.

While it isn’t curbside compost collection for everyone, I think this is a huge victory for the city of Boston, and I hope there’s some highly publicized results that other cities can learn from.

Philadelphia is one of them.  I feel like we’re on the brink of having some centralized food scrap collection trials, but I’m not sure what needs to happen next to make that happen.  The only problem I see is that it relies on public interest instead of what’s best for the public.

Communication and publicity are two huge factors here, and I hope Boston has plenty of advocates that can convey the message that composting is not only cool but extremely necessary right now.  I can see it now…the composting trial is over, and half the city didn’t know about it.

For all the haters out there complaining that commercial composting facilities turn into “stump dumps”, or try to make an issue out of where all the compost will go, quit denying the human nutrient cycle that’s been here as long as we have.  We eat, we crap it out, we compost it, we grow food with it.

The Advanced Vermicomposting Facility VERMIC3.2 HD

The advanced vermi composting facility VERMIC 3.2 HD

In Austria, it looks like vermicomposting is picking up momentum!  It’s strange to me though, because they use earthworms instead of red wigglers.

The thermophilic compost is created from alfalfa, manure and straw before being fed to the earthworms to turn into a super fine casting.

Alfred Grand appears to be a pretty stoic dude, doesn’t he?

Composting Opportunities at School (video)

Scavenging at School

I posted this video recently on my other website, tylertalkstrash.com, and then I realized it had some crossover here. Schools are a blaring example of composting potential, and you teach the kids about it and hold them responsible for its success.

This came to mind as I was taking a stroll downtown earlier and walked in front of a shoe store that had its trash on the street. It didn’t take long to realize that they are yet another industry that could easily compost their waste with little to no contamination. All they have is cardboard boxes neatly flattened, shoe boxes smooshed into garbage bags along with the tissue paper you put inside and around the shoe. Check it out:

So much composting potential.

It’s hard to think of an industry that couldn’t benefit from composting in one way or another…in the shoe store’s case, their cardboard recycler doesn’t want the tissue paper anyway as it’s considered a contaminant (super low grade paper).

What’s left? Their employees appeared to be hardcore coffee drinkers, and we know that’s all compost. Remaining was plastic wrap, which can easily be separated and might even fetch you a few bucks when you have enough.

Firm Pulls the Plug on Compost Dump (news article)


VILLAGERS are celebrating after the firm planning to build a compost dump near Awsworth withdrew its planning application.

But a plan for a smaller plant from the same developer near the sewage works off Halls Lane, Newthorpe, is still ‘live’ according to Nottinghamshire County Council.

The proposed Westby Lane plant would have seen 12 32-tonne lorries travel back and forth through Awsworth each week, leading to grave concerns from residents that the roads in the village could not handle it.

The local residents’ and tenants’ association mobilised a campaign against the plan with dozens joining protests near the proposed site in Babbington after Alfreton-based HW Martin’s plans were revealed in May.

Many of the campaigners were concerned about health risks from airborne pollutants and Awsworth parish councillor Kurt Whitten said he was ‘over-the-moon’ at the news that the plan had been aborted.

“It’s absolutely brilliant news,” he said.

“I am not against things like that in principle but where they were planning to put this one was totally the wrong place. It was ridiculous.

“I think everybody in Awsworth will be pleased with this.”

A Nottinghamshire County Council spokesman confirmed that the highways department had objected to the plan because of the difficulty of access along country lanes.

This led to the firm withdrawing its application.

County councillor for the area Ken Rigby said he has been fighting for a 7.5-tonne limit through Awsworth to force lorry drivers to use the bypass built nearly a decade ago.

He said that drivers’ satnavs were sending them through the village.

“I’m very, very pleased,” he said. “I was concerned about the health grounds and about the lorry movements through Awsworth.

“I am working very hard to try to get a limit in place.”

The county council spokesman confirmed that HW Martin’s application for a composting plant in Newthorpe is still in the system and would be considered at a later date.

The A610 near Newthorpe means the trucks will only have to pass over a small section of bridleway to access that site but residents nearby are still concerned about the plan – particularly because the proposed site sits next to a sports ground where various local teams play.

[It’s nice to see some active participation to ensure that a composting facility is placed in a better location than proposed…I’d suggest they do something about using the phrase “compost dump”, though! -tyler]

How Does Commercial Composting Work? (video)


Have you ever wondered how a commercial composting facility works?  Technology has advanced over the years, and now it’s way beyond a pile of dirt sitting there being tended to by a farmer.  Click on the link below to take an interactive tour of one of the freshest composting facilities in the United States using Goretex technology:


Do You Think Starbucks is Sustainable?

When you’re out on the road, sometimes you have to settle for crappy coffee.  Avoiding gas station coffee is of utmost importance, but that often leaves you with Starbucks.  I always leave Starbucks thinking the same thing: They like to market themselves as sustainable, but are missing out on quite an opportunity.

As a trash dude, I’m always looking at waste streams and how an establishment is designed to handle them.  Starbucks (and any coffee shop for that matter) has a severely simple one.  On the back end, there’s coffee grinds and cardboard.  I saw that Starbucks has had the Grounds for Your Garden campaign since 1995…none of the employees had any idea what this was.  Smart for Starbucks though, as it saves them on waste hauling fees and greens them up in the consumer’s eyes.

Here’s what the front end waste station looked like:

Not too interesting, I know.  And that’s the point.  Their waste consists of plastic and glass bottles, and plastic lids for the coffee cup.  Otherwise, it’s all paper, cardboard and food scraps…sound compostable?  I was surprised there wasn’t a recycling can for their bottles…maybe the town didn’t have that service available?  A coffee shop is an opportunity that’s just screaming zero waste.

Anyway, I’m waiting for the day that Starbucks starts composting at more of their stores.  As they’re a gigantic company, they definitely have stores in areas where commercial composting is available.  [I just called a few spots in San Francisco for fun, and they all proudly compost…but it’s mandatory there anyway.]

What I’m getting at is that they’re in a position both geographically and financially to initiate composting programs at more of their stores and make a huge impact.  In nearly every case, composting services are a cheaper per ton hauling rate, and it does wonders for your public relations.

To all of the small coffee shops out there currently composting and giving away your coffee grinds to the locals for their efforts, I salute you.  As for Starbucks, I commend your efforts as they’re better than any other large coffee chain I can think of…but I hope to see more.  What do you need to make this happen?

…so does this place compost or not?

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So I’m staying at a hotel in New Jersey this week, and like usual I’m wondering if the place composts their food waste.  I was at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philly and a great man by the name of Marvin Dixon was running a full-on compost program.  I was so excited I had to learn more, and was ecstatic to learn that he was using finished compost for their rooftop basil gardens…truly an awesome effort.

Public perception in the “green arena” can do a lot for a company’s image.  This hotel put forth a pretty weak effort all around to show any sustainability effort, which in this day and age is pretty disappointing.  I really believe that eventually it’s going to be a determining factor for whether or not business is conducted: how sustainable is your hotel?

Hey Ocean Place, be more OBVIOUS about composting your food and be proud of yourselves…same goes with your lackluster recycling efforts.  Your patrons will love you for it and be more likely to revisit and soak up more of the awesome ocean view you have going.

Yes, fellow UIBC people, the hotel really does compost!  I went around back and took a look at their waste collection layout and they had a full-on toter system for compost.  There was also a recycling compactor, but I think this was to service all those containers along the beach walkway.  I’m impressed a tad, aren’t you?

Ugh, I have a headache.  At least the beds are cozy.  Then again I’m used to sleeping on a leaky air mattress.