11/18/2011

Composting 101; A Growing Industry?

When most of us think of uneaten food, we consider it garbage, but it is actually organic waste.  We throw it away along with our trash and it ends up in landfills, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon.  When organic waste is properly handled, the result is compost, growing magic for a garden, rich with vital nutrients lacking in most soils.

Grid-Magazine has brought the issue of composting to my attention and now I'm sharing it with you.  Here in Philadelphia we are beginning to expose ourselves to the possibilities composting has to offer.  Across the city Philadelphian's have started composting, in backyards and kitchens, restaurants, and hotels.  The number continues to grow as more people are educated on its benefits. Composting is great for your garden and good for the environment.


There are a few ways to compost, and they all require air, water, heat, the right size space, apple cores and dry leaves to provide nitrogen and carbon. Three ways to compost are through Vermicomposting, Aerated Static Pile, and In-Vessel.  If you are interested in more info on composting methods, visit Primex, a garden center in Glenside, PA.  They hold composting workshops in early spring, and also a great resource for finding out about composting workshops happening throughout Greater Philadelphia.  Visit Primex Here.



Down in Wilmington, DE., The Peninsula Compost Group has been in existence for over 2 years now. The $20 million facility occupies 27 acres and handles 160,000 tons of food and yard waste annually.  Being only 1,200 feet prom homes, residents were sure to protest the companies presence in their town, but Peninsula assured residents their presence would not have a negative impact on their livelihood and they actually have maintained that stance.  In the two years since the facility opened, there hasn't been one phone call to their 24-hour odor hotline.  The lack of odors is thanks to the sophisticated GORE cover composting system.  This system keeps water out, while allowing the compost to breathe.  Carbon dioxide and water vapor are released, but the GORE cover keeps in odor molecules.


The composting industry is rather new to Philadelphia, but certainly shows sign of growing, a positive contribution to the city's goal to become America's Greenest City.  Residents and Entrepreneurs are catching on, like Tim Bennett who started his own compost collection agency called Bennett Compost due to the nonexistence of one in the city.  With bold thinkers like Bennett and other conscious individuals, Philly has a bright Green future ahead for itself.

Items to compost:
Cardboard, clean paper, coffee grounds & filters, corncobs, cotton rags, dryer & vacuum cleaner lint, eggshells, fireplace ashes, flowers, fruits & vegetables, grass clippings, hair and fur, hay and straw, houseplants, Leaves, Pine needles, Newspaper, nut shells, sawdust, tea bags, wood chips, wool rags, yard trimmings.

Avoid:
(fats, grease, lard, or oils), coal or charcoal ash, dairy products (butter, egg yolks, sour cream, yogurt), black walnut tree leaves or twigs, diseased or insect-ridden plants, meat or fish bones and scraps, pet wastes, and yard trimmings treated with chemicals.