BioCycle April 2007, Vol. 48, No. 4, p. 19
BioCycle launches searchable data base of composting facilities permitted to receive food residuals, yard trimmings, soiled paper, manure, biosolids and/or other organic residuals streams.
TAKING advantage of on-line data management systems, BioCycle – with the Biodegradable Products Institute as a sponsor – has launched a searchable data base of composting facilities in the United States. Facilities that want to be listed in the data base can log on to www.findacomposter.com (FAC) and enter information about their operation. Once data entered is verified by BioCycle editors, the composting facility is added to the searchable data base. Users of FAC can search by fields including city, state and zip code, feedstocks, composting method, regulatory status, and more. Included in the data base are anaerobic digesters that incorporate aerobic post-digestion processes.
The primary purpose of FAC is to aid generators of compostable feedstocks and other interested parties in locating facilities that are permitted to receive those feedstocks. Additional purposes include locating sources of compost products and improved visibility of the composting industry. Only regulatory-compliant (i.e., permitted, registered and/or officially exempt from permits) composting facilities will be listed in the data base. Eventually, we anticipate expanding the data base beyond the U.S. to include composting facilities in Canada, Mexico and possibly overseas. The goal is to not only make it easy to find a composter, but also to highlight the scale and scope of the composting industry.
While states, associations and others maintain lists of composting facilities, it can be difficult to discern what feedstocks are accepted, the permit status and size of the operation (both in terms of acreage and annual permitted capacity) and whether compost is for sale. In addition, there is growing interest in identifying composting sites that receive compostable plastic products, including bags and service ware. The initial emphasis of FAC is to identify composting facilities permitted to receive pre and postconsumer food residuals. In most cases, these facilities also process yard trimmings; in some instances, these sites accept wastewater biosolids, animal manures, papermill sludge and/or other municipal, commercial, agricultural and/or industrial organic residuals. But as word spreads about the searchable data base, any type of permitted composting operation is eligible for inclusion in the data base, including food waste composting sites located at universities, colleges, correctional facilities, restaurants, hotels and on-farm operations that typically are exempt from permitting requirements but are registered with (or have notified) a regulatory agency. Solid waste transfer stations where generators (or their haulers) can bring food waste for delivery to a composting facility will be part of the data base as well.
The following criteria have been established for a composting facility to be included in www.fndacomposter.com: Facility is in compliance with its permit requirements and local health and environmental protection rules; Facility is permitted to process food waste from off-site sources (commercial, institutional, industrial, municipal and/or agricultural generators), or has the capacity to process food waste if opportunities arise; Facility can be accessed year round (e.g., by delivery vehicles such as waste haulers, providers of amendments, customers for compost, etc.)
LOG ON AND BE COUNTED!
BioCycle and BPI encourage all composting facilities to take a few minutes to enter their facility information. Just log on to www.findacomposter.com. The data base also includes a Resources Page, with contact information for state organics recycling coordinators, links to state composting regulations and requirements, and local initiatives for organics diversion (e.g., municipal ordinances, landfill diversion credits, etc.).
Over time, as more data is entered into FAC, BioCycle will provide industry trend reports. Our goal is to make www.findacomposter.com an interactive tool that demonstrates the vitality and potential of the composting industry. We welcome feedback on the data entry form and current data fields, search tools and overall usefulness of the site. Please contact Nora Goldstein, Executive Editor, BioCycle at firstname.lastname@example.org. – N.G.