Adding Food Residuals to Yard Trimmings Compost sites

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USCC Webinar: Adding Food Residuals to Yard Trimmings Compost sites

To view the individual presentations, click on the titles to the right–>

Food residuals constitute a significant portion of the solid waste stream and represent the next “low hanging fruit” for driving towards zero-waste. Many states have developed significant composting infrastructure for handling leaf and yard trimmings. These sites could serve as the basis for increasing the composting of food residuals, but not without careful planning and consideration.

In this webinar we’ll look at three important aspects of incorporating food wastes: 1) acquisition, where will the food come from and how will it get there; 2) operations, what are the Best Management Practices for handling the food scraps and what changes to the facility site, equipment and operations will be needed, and 3) impact mitigation, how to prevent and address potential negative air and water impacts.

Featured speakers:

Sharon Barnes, Barnes Nursery: Getting the food residuals to your site

Sharon will discuss the challenges facing composting facilities that want to develop a food residual waste stream. Finding the right food waste generators may be the easiest piece of the puzzle. From there a composting facility operator must be prepared to train store employees, help to streamline packaging choices for easier separation, assist with collection containers, collection frequency, security and more. Then the question of providing transportation is front and center. The most successful partnerships are where the composter and the customer have a good working relationship.

Since 1991, Sharon Barnes, Barnes Nursery, has operated the company’s yard waste facility in Huron, Ohio. They have lived through the huge shifts in supply and demand of materials. The company has been handling food waste from food processors, grocery stores, restaurants, resorts and even the public for many years. Focusing on the manufacture of high-end horticultural soil blends and mulches, Barnes understands that the market drives and customer service rules.

Eva Christensen, Earthtenders: Operational changes and best practices

Once the food residuals get to your site, they cant be managed the same way yard trimmings are handled. Plus “food residuals” are not all the same; a dumpster from a grocery will look very different than a load from a festival. Eva will look at how a site may need structural changes to accommodate food residuals and then review the Best Management Practices for handling the residuals at that site.
Eva Christensen is owner of Earthtenders, author of “Best Management Practices for Incorporating Food Residuals Into Existing Yard Waste Composting Facilites” (US EPA/US Composting Council, 2009), and a Technical Services Provider for the US Dept. of Agriculture . She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics of Sustainability, multiple certifications from USDA, and a level 4 solid waste manager’s license in NH. In 2008 Eva was presented the US Composting Council’s H. Clark Gregory Award for outstanding grassroots efforts in promoting composting. In addition to 14 years of waste diversion and composting projects, Eva also has 25 years experience working with restaurants. She understands the challenges of waste reduction in the hospitality industry, and knows how to overcome them.

Earthtenders is a community composting facility and education center. They create complete waste diversion and zero waste programs, make organic compost products, and conduct custom-designed educational events for people of all ages.

Bob Rynk, Ph.D., SUNY Cobleskill: Minimizing off-site impacts

Adding food residuals adds more than material and finished product to your operation—it adds potential problems with neighbors and regulators. Minimizing those impacts will be the focus of Bob’s presentation. This will include a wide array of technological, managerial and social approaches—everything from pseudo-biofilters to neighborhood meetings.

Bob Rynk has been researching and teaching about composting for over 25 years. Bob is Associate Professor of Agricultural Engineering at the State University of New York, Cobleskill campus (SUNY Cobleskill). His areas of expertise include waste management, natural treatment processes and alternative energy. Bob’s work at SUNY Cobleskill includes teaching courses on composting, waste management and bioenergy and researching on- farm compost production. He is the co-instructor for the “Foundations of Composting” short course, which is presented annually at the U.S. Composting Council conference and at other national venues. He regularly lectures at other national and international composting forums. Prior to SUNY Cobleskill, Bob was Senior Technical Editor for BioCycle magazine and Executive Editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Compost Science and Utilization.