Editors’ Blog

More recycling wanted

By |  October 23, 2013

A mere 3 percent of the 34 million tons of food waste generated in the United States in 2010 was composted, according to EPA data. The 3 percent means 32.98 million tons are annually available for composting.

Of course, leaving that many million tons on the table doesn’t necessarily mean portable plants are going to see more action. Still, the 3 percent reflects missed opportunities of which composting facilities and other portable plant users could be taking advantage – if those with a supply that can be processed knew where to turn.

Recognizing that composters are just scratching the surface of certain markets, the U.S. Composting Council (USCC) has been forming alliances to better reach organic material suppliers and those on the compost-use side. USCC formed its latest alliance with the American Biogas Council (ABC), signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to improve the connection with the 140-plus companies ABC represents that produce and use biogas from organic waste.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is another organization to which USCC has reached out as it attempts to draw NRA members into the composting fold. Michael Virga, USCC executive director, says his organization has reached out with educational materials to NRA members to increase feedstocks.

“We’re a small organization, and in order to get certain things done, you need to align with other organizations,” Virga says. “We have a lot of good relationships with other allied organizations, but we have three that have been formalized into MOUs and more of a formal partnership.”

A third organization, Keep America Beautiful (KAB), is an ally that gives USCC an outreach source on the compost-use side. KAB has helped USCC promote its consumer compost programs and reach a vital audience with educational webinars.

“These are three really good partnerships,” Virga says. “We do have more partnerships in the works for 2013, and we plan on getting them done.”

Equipment demo reviews
USCC drew a significant chunk of those composters to its 21st annual conference and trade show in Orlando, Fla. Virga says the event generated more than 900 registrations, and the number of participants in the equipment demonstrations Jan. 31 was typical at about 375.

Vermeer’s 8000TX horizontal grinder and Komptech’s Crambo 6000 shredder were two portable plants that particularly intrigued composters, judging from the number of people surrounding the units and asking questions of the companies’ reps following the demos. Another Vermeer grinder, the HG4000, drew rave reviews from onlookers who were impressed with the speed at which the smaller unit processed organic material. Check out page 6 for a more in-depth look at six of the units showcased in Orlando.

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