Monthly Archives: October 2014

What Will Become of the Organic Waste

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Secretary David Small of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has ordered the closure of Peninsula Compost Company’s recycling and composting facility in Wilmington because of an inability to control odors.

The order also requires all compost and related waste must be removed from the facility by March 31, 2015.

“Peninsula Compost Company has placed an undue burden on the quality of life of residents in the city of Wilmington, parts of the city of New Castle and part of New Castle County – particularly those living in close proximity to the facility due to frequent uncontrolled odors,” Small said. “The company has been unable to maintain compliance with DNREC’s Beneficial Use Determination permit.”

Some of the other issues cited in the failed process include equipment being non-operational; time needed to produce finished compost takes longer than originally planned; waste or finished compost has been stored onsite above approved quantities; and a failure to develop markets to meet production demand, according to the agency.

Peninsula Compost began operating the Wilmington Organic Recycling Center in late 2009. The firm was processing about 115,000 tons of waste annually.

Reduce Food Waste

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Following the People’s Climate March and Climate Week we should be thinking about what we can do to reduce our impact on the environment. One of these solutions is to reduce food waste.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, but another gas – methane – is far more potent and has an intimate relationship with your dinner plate. Methane is 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide and 18 percent of its emission in the US comes from food and other organic material decomposing in landfills.

In a food waste report from the National Resources Defense Council, Dana Gunders estimates that 40% of food goes uneaten in the US. Less wasted food will cut landfill emissions, save you money on buying, preparing and discarding less food, help conserve energy and resources that go into producing food in the first place and help fight climate change.

Recognizing the benefits from reducing food waste and diverting food from landfills, some states have established aggressive initiatives, and in some cases mandates, that will cause big wasters to find a solution for their food waste, one that does not include landfill. As similar mandates start springing up across the country because of limited landfill capacity or emission reduction goals only a few solutions exist that have proven to be cost-effective and scalable.

BioHitech America identified this problem more than 8 year ago and has since evolved their Eco-Safe Digester  to be more than just an on-site aerobic digester. It has smart technology on board that transmits data about what is being wasted in order to make sure it is not wasted a second time.

Reducing food waste is a simple solution to reducing greenhouse gasses and reducing your carbon footprint.

Compost Cincy Shut Down and Locked Out

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It will cost the city of Cincinnati an estimated $300,000 to clean up a composting site they shut down earlier this year due to odor complaints.

Compost Cincy rented an old landfill site from the city to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to landfills, but after numerous odor complaints, the city shut them down and locked them out because of odor problems.

The idea of the first centrally located composting facility in Cincinnati started out as a win-win for businesses, the city and the environment. Large commercial companies could send their waste to the old landfill site where Compost Cincy would break it down and sell it. But demand for composting proved to be much bigger than they anticipated.

Compost Cincy designed their operation for about 20,000 tons a year, at their peak they were receiving a rate more like 80,000 tons a year.

All that decomposing waste became a smelly problem for industrial neighbors so the city opted not to renew the lease.

Compost Cincy blames the eviction on the city’s poor zoning policies. While they admits some odor may have made it off site after heavy rainfalls due to the amount of waste they are processing, they don’t believe that was reason enough for eviction.

Their website blames Americans and Municipalities for not wanting to deal with the few minor inconveniences of odors, rodents, truck traffic, groundwater contamination and decreased property value in order to “be green.” http://www.compostcincy.com/

Challenges and subsequent closures of commercial composting continue to exist throughout the US because of high demand, not enough infrastructure, inadequate regulatory structure, and persistent odors. It is good timing that alternative solutions, such as, on-site aerobic technology and anaerobic digestion are garnering interest and favor with towns and states. Those two solutions will soon replace these composting problems.