A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 December 19, 1991
1. Good food to hungry people. Several cities have begun operations, some called City Harvest, where volunteers collect excess food prepared at restaurants and institutions and deliver this food to soup kitchens, etc. Whether ones community is large or small, good food to hungry people is ethically the first priority.
2. Edible food to animals. More effort needs to be concentrated on edible food being fed to animals in preference to composting. There are stringent regulations regarding feeding food wastes to animals (pigs,etc.), but none of these regulations are as daunting as the imperative for responsible stewardship of our resources. We urge agricultural communities, especially, to bring back the sensible, beneficial and rewarding scenario of feeding food scraps to animals.
3. Food wastes to backyard or community composting projects. Decentralized composting projects should have a higher priority over a centralized composting project. The householder will be able to insure a high quality compost for their gardening and landscaping needs. It provides an invaluable appreciation of the ecological cycle to children and parents alike. And lastly, it will reduce a communitys collection, transportation and processing costs.
4. Source-separated food wastes to centralized composting projects. Curb-side collection that introduces a separate collection pail for food and yard wastes is the only way we can insure that the quality of the compost is not contaminated by inorganics and the only way we can insure a high- grade, quality product, that can be used on agricultural land. This compost will also lend itself invaluable for other high-quality gardening/landscape use.
5. Dirty composting, or mixed waste composting. This will render a contaminated material for very limited, if any, use. It should be considered only as a way of stabilizing the contaminated organics prior to being landfilled. Such an approach minimizes methane and leachate production and achieves considerable volume reduction. In other words, it is a way of controlling what goes into landfills - a better approach than trying to control what comes out. Any effort that goes into mixed waste composting should have the goal of improving the landfill and not producing a product for sale. It is important to recognize that the contaminated compost material produced is of a quality that most people would never want to use on their own property, let alone in their community, where the land where this material is put may someday be the homesite of our grandchildren.
Refers to content of end-product compost, concentrations in parts per million dry weight./
* These soil background levels were not included in this report. Waste Not received them from Marco Kaltofen, director of the Citizens Environmental Laboratory, run by the National Toxics Campaign. The naturally occurring background levels of metals found in a range of U.S. soils, listed in this chart, specifically exclude known contaminated soils. The Citizens Environmental Laboratory provides groups and individuals with a reliable and inexpensive testing service for soil, ash, water, and other media. Citizens Environmental Lab., 1168 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02134. Tel: 617-232-3945.
** New York States Class 1 MSW compost can be distributed for use by the public, used on food chain crops and other agricultural and horticultural uses, but must not be used on crops grown for direct human consumption.
*** New York States Class 2 MSW compost must meet the same particle size and heavy metals standards as compost derived from sewage sludge. Class 2 compost is restricted to use on non-food chain crops and other purposes.
**** The most recent iteration of the sludge standards are the newly proposed no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) standards developed by a consortium of government and university researchers.
Mixed Municipal Solid Waste (MSW): garbage generated by households and commercial businesses which is collected in a commingled fashion. Example of mixed MSW: grass clippings, plastic wrap, old sneakers, food waste, disposable diapers, styrofoam packaging material, batteries, etc.
Green Waste: organic material such as food, yard and wood waste which is collected separately from the rest of the garbage.
Compost: the end-product of a controlled process involving the biological decomposition of organic materials.
Co-compost: compost derived from a mixture of organic materials and sewer sludge or septage.
Green compost: the end-product of a controlled process involving the biological decomposition of organic materials derived from a source-separated (or non-commingled) stream of solid waste.