Organic compost sites becoming large business ventures
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Right now, it's just a slab of asphalt. But Jamie Phenow envisions piles of food slowly breaking down and turning into rich compost.
The general manager of Tri-County Organics hopes the central Minnesota compost site will start receiving food scraps this month and turning them into a useful product sold to farmers, gardeners and landscape companies.
“Now it's not being landfilled or incinerated,” Phenow said. “It's being reintroduced to the soil, where it should be.”
Tri-County is among a rising number of privately owned compost facilities across the country, part of a growing focus on recycling food scraps, paper towels and other organic materials that make up a large part of the garbage stream.
Recycling experts say composting organic waste is a big opportunity to create a useful product and reduce the amount of garbage going into landfills and incinerators.
“It's definitely part of a larger trend,” said Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist with the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated in 2011. Food makes up nearly a quarter of municipal solid waste, more than any other single material.
Small-scale efforts to recycle food waste have been going on for years. Many homeowners collect kitchen scraps for backyard compost piles, and some large institutions such as hospitals and universities have their own composting systems. But until recently, some states such as Minnesota had few sites where garbage haulers, businesses and residences could take organic waste.
“It's just expanding. It's an evolving opportunity,” Phenow said. “And it's the right thing to do. It's so much better than landfilling.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police search for armed prisoner after Va. hospital escape
- Indiana officials try to quell backlash over religious freedom law
- A revolt is growing as more people refuse to pay back student loans
- Supreme Court allows Obamacare’s Medicare costs board to stand
- U.S. parks cope with aging visitor base
- Federal agents charged with plundering online drug bazaar Silk Road
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- 2nd suicide in a month jolts Missouri GOP
- Florida church bus crash kills 8
- Music festivals say ‘no’ to fans’ selfie sticks
- Eased rules considered to add talent to military, Defense chief says