Tag Archives: organics

Communities fight planned compost operation at Hilo landfill (article)

Original source: http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/news/local-news/communities-fight-planned-compost-operation-hilo-landfill

Native Hawaiian communities in Keaukaha and Panaewa are gearing up to fight a planned composting facility adjacent to the Hilo landfill, a move that could jeopardize a key component of the county’s plan to close the landfill and recycle more of its waste.

Residents, including Hilo Councilwoman-elect Sue Lee Loy, are asking for a more in-depth study than the environmental assessment currently underway. They’re seeking the more intensive environmental impact statement, or failing that, a study that takes into account all of the government facilities currently impacting the community.

Bobby Yamada, treasurer of the Keaukaha-Panaewa Farmers Association, said the community opposes the plan.

“Our position is no, because the community’s concerns have not been met,” Yamada said Monday.

And some say they’ll take the issue to court, if need be.

The county’s current plan is to have construction begin in April for the $10.5 million composting facility, with it going into operation in 2018, converting green and food waste from all of the island. Non-recyclable garbage from the entire island will be sent to the West Hawaii landfill in Puuanahulu.

Under the plan, transfer stations around the island will continue to serve as drop-off points for household waste, HI-5 recyclables and green waste.

The Hilo landfill has an estimated three years of space left for garbage.

A draft environmental assessment released in August estimates 28,000 tons of organic waste will be composted the first year, ramping up to 35,000 tons by year 10. That includes 18,000 tons from West Hawaii that will be trucked to Hilo.

The county reopened the comment period and extended it to Dec. 12 following an outcry from the residents, several of whom said the county didn’t contact them for input.

Yamada said the community will continue its protests if the finding of no significant impact in the draft EA becomes final, and if their protests aren’t heard, some residents might appeal in court.

“Everybody has that option,” Yamada said. “We’ll just let the process move forward.”

Environmental Management Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd defended the county’s decision to locate the facility, including a tipping floor and covered windrows to compost the waste, at an old quarry adjacent to the landfill.

Leithead Todd said the facility should create no more noise or odors than the current operations at the landfill. She said the site is the logical choice because most of the infrastructure is already in place. The facility can’t be located at the West Hawaii landfill because of the need for water, she said.

In addition, the operation will offer free mulch that has been processed to kill invasive species such as coqui frogs, ohia fungus, little fire ants and coffee berry borers, as well as local compost at competitive prices, something the farmers could benefit from.

“I understand the concerns, but the operations will be virtually the same,” Leithead Todd said. “In fact, it’s going to be no more and probably less of an impact than the current operations there.”

Leithead Todd said she’s confident the finding of no significant impact will be finalized, and the residents, once they see the benefits, will have their concerns alleviated.

But Lee Loy, whose own Panaewa farm lot is just six houses away from the current landfill, said the new facility is just one more thing added to a community that already has the landfill, airport, Mass Transit baseyard, sewer treatment plant, racetrack and shooting range.

“At the end of this process, our big ask is to cap. No more. To stop taking the easy way,” Lee Loy said during a Nov. 18 community meeting in Keaukaha recorded by Big Island Video News. “It gives the county an opportunity to say this community has done enough, and we need to look somewhere else, somewhere far away. And have other communities help heal our community but also help carry the burden that the Hawaiian Homes community has carried for far too long.”

Lee Loy’s comments were more tempered when contacted Monday. Still, she said, the community has concerns, and it’s her job to represent them. As a planning consultant and freelance legal researcher, as well as a resident, she feels best qualified to communicate the concerns and help reach agreement.

“This just bubbled up from the community, so I just facilitated it,” Lee Loy said. “I’ve been asked to help. Kudos to the community. They really are engaging in the processes that are available to them.”

Public comments can be submitted to Greg Goodale, Solid Waste Division chief, Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management, 345 Kekuanaoa St., Hilo HI 96720 or via email at Gregory.Goodale@hawaiicounty.gov, or to planning consultant PBR Hawaii and Associates Inc., attention Vincent Shigekuni, 1001 Bishop St., Suite 650, Honolulu HI 96813 or via email at vshigekuni@pbrhawaii.com.

The 337-page environmental assessment can be found online at http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/….

Email Nancy Cook Lauer at ncook-lauer@westhawaiitoday.com.

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Asking for a more in-depth EIS is understandable.

Enclosed composting systems are the way to go- open air windrows seem OK, until they’re mismanaged and odors become a problem.

Crunching the numbers, by the time it’s in full operation they’re looking at just under 100 tons per day.  Done right, this should be a manageable amount.  Done wrong, the community will let you know quickly that it’s a problem.

The statement mentioned accepting bioplastics- that worries me.  Which bioplastics are accepted?  That’s a well-documented challenge for composting facilities.

With only three years left of landfilling waste, the residents should be happy it’s a composting facility being proposed instead of an incinerator.  I wish we could get a proper composting facility here in Philadelphia…

Even More Food Scraps! Oh the Horror!

even more food scraps

Even more food scraps!

OK, I promise- last one (for now).

This photo reminds me of one of those Old Tyme Buffet places… it could almost pass as a sloppily organized buffet table shot.

But no, it’s all food that never made it to consumption…

Off to the mountain of dirt, flesh, chlorophyll and cellulose it goes, to be cooked courtesy of the thermophiles down into that critical stuff we need to grow more things to eat.

Food Scraps- Are They Really That Gross?

toter scraps 01

Today’s compost toter full of wasted food looks like a nice mix of noodles, tomatoes, chicken fingers and french fries.

Looking at photos like this (or inside compost toters in real life) normally elicits an “ewwwww” or similar.

Is it really, though?

If I put any of this on a plate in nice little portions, you’d probably eat it.

This leads to my main point: Where is the away place where stuff gets thrown?  What’s the difference between materials that are in your hand five seconds prior before they land in a plastic bag in a container labeled “trash” or otherwise?

I look at this and think, “I’m glad this is going to get turned back into fertile soil soon”.

Close the loop, and learn to embrace it.  It’s our only hope.

Organics Dumpster

Organics dumpster

I was just thinking about Vancouver again… check out this stylish dumpster!

Unfortunately every time I saw one of these it was locked shut and I couldn’t pick them open.

I guess if the compliance is good, this thing would either start cooking or get really anaerobic due to lack of air circulation.

Either way, what a unique dumpster!  I hope to see more compost collection systems in place sooner rather than later.

Vancouver compost toter- clear as mud or info overload?

vancouver toter 1vancouver toter 2

I was in Vancouver recently and I had a blast… what an awesome place.

So far it’s a tie between them and Cape Town for the best designs and convenience for the disposer.

Therefore, I’m going to start with the “ugliest” toter I found, which happens to be info overload.

However- info is good… or is it?

For some this is a huge deterrent and results in “oh screw it, just throw it all in”, while for others it will result in laser-focused compliant disposal.

I’m definitely in the latter group, and this lid label really lays it out for me.

The usual questions come to mind- how old is this label?  Is this the current message from the company?  Plenty of paper products have plastic liners in them, and plenty of tea bags are now plastic too!

Contamination will never be zero unfortunately, but the effort on here is extensive.

One other thing- why no cotton balls?

Philadelphia is Close to Mandating Composting for Restaurants

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/02/19/city-council-oks-measure-to-allow-restaurants-to-recycle-scraps-for-composting/

Although it’s been known for a few weeks, I wanted to bring up what’s going on here in Philadelphia.

Up to now, the City had no real incentives set up for businesses to compost, nor do they provide curbside compost collection.

In Philadelphia, all commercial establishments must pay a fee every year for their trash dumpster and recycling dumpster.  The recycling is cheaper than the trash dumpster.

The idea is to have a composting option available, which will hopefully cut back on the amount of organics being thrown in the trash.

This bill focuses on just restaurants…ideally it will expand to include coffee shops, pizza shops, and really anywhere serving food.

Done right, numerous businesses should practically be able to either recycle or compost almost all of their waste.

Let’s hope the mayor signs the bill.

The 3 or 4 compost services in Philadelphia must be getting pretty excited about this.