“Organic Materials Management in King County” Report

A new report, “Organic Materials Management In from King County,” was released in August 2019 by the King County (Washington) Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Solid Waste Division. The report includes an illustration that highlights the flow of organics materials (below). However, state the authors, “the organic material management system is a regional one. King County, Seattle, and Snohomish County together generated approximately 1.03 million tons of organics in 2018. King County organics contributed more than half (55%) of the total generation by weight. Three composting facilities —Cedar Grove Composting in Maple Valley, Cedar Grove Composting in Everett, and Lenz Enterprises — accept and process organic material from residences and businesses in the region.” These local composting facilities are already operating near permitted capacity.

Organic materials management in King County - LinkUp program - King County Solid Waste Division

Organic materials management in King County – LinkUp program – King County Solid Waste Division

Overall, continues the report, nearly half (46%) of generated regional organics were captured for composting through curbside organics collection or at local transfer stations. While most yard debris is captured for composting, a much higher percentage of food waste and other compostable material is still going to the landfill. “There remains opportunity for King County to increase organics recycling rates and divert more material — during the most recent residential curbside study (2018), less than half (47%) of the single-family households who subscribe to organics service in King County set out their food and yard waste container for collection, and less than 40 percent of King County single-family households overall set out an organics cart for collection,” states the report.

Most processed organics currently sold are used as soil amendments and landscaping material purchased by residential and commercial customers. Applications for compost include:

• Residential and commercial soil amendments and other landscaping applications, including use by nurseries.

• Construction, land clearing and grading, and other site development projects for use in erosion control and for topsoil blending or as a soil amendment for reestablishing vegetation and/or landscaping

• Transportation projects for erosion control, stormwater management, and for reestablishing vegetation.

• Public and private sector green stormwater infrastructure projects such as rain gardens, bioswales, and green roofs.

Compost is also used in applications such as habitat restoration; site remediation and reclamation; urban forestry; public landscape and parkland management; and turf maintenance. Local processors continue to seek to expand and diversify their markets for finished product, and there is local interest in growing both municipal purchasing as well as agricultural markets for local compost.

Organic Materials Management In from King County” is divided into 2 sections, and there are 4 appendices. Section 1, Regional Organic Material Data Assessment, presents trends in disposal and recovery of organic materials, including food scraps and yard trimmings, based on available data from King County, City of Seattle, and Snohomish County. Section 2, King County Organics Market Assessment, provides an update of local organics market conditions, which were previously documented in 2015 and 2017. It summarizes relevant trends related to King County’s organics supply, processing, and end market demand.

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