Lessons In Community Composting: Collection and Processing — Growth And Insights
Rising Sand Organics

Community Composting can be done at different scales depending on business focus, location and goals for growth. The various methods and systems make each operation unique. Part III

Live And In Person … Telling Our Organics Recycling Stories
Nora Goldstein, BioCycle Editor and Publisher

In January, Ryan Cooper and Katie Kinnear of Rubicon® visited BioCycle’s office in Emmaus, Pennsylvania (PA), to learn more about our company’s history and to get our take on all things organics recycling — from source reduction to zero waste, with a focus on food. Rubicon is a technology company that provides smart waste and recycling solutions to businesses and governments worldwide.

NYS Organics Summit Webinar Recordings

Like many planned events this spring, the annual New York State (NYS) Organics Summit, sponsored by the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling, was cancelled. Instead, several sessions planned for the Summit were held as webinars throughout May. The recordings of each webinar are now available.

Incorporating Depackaging Into Composting Operation

Missouri Organics Recycling has been composting food waste since 2005. It recently invested in a depackaging system to manage contamination and expand the range of materials accepted.
Kevin Anderson and Stan Slaughter

Editorial: Pandemic-Induced Organics Recycling
Nora Goldstein, BioCycle Editor

We hope that everyone is staying healthy during this ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. Business as usual is anything but usual, as all of you are likely experiencing as well.
Nora Goldstein

Madison, Wisconsin Rolls Out Food Scraps Drop-Off
Madison, Wisconsin Streets Division food waste drop-off site

The City of Madison began accepting food scraps for recycling at all three of its Streets Division drop-off sites. “This is a special voluntary recycling program available only at the drop-off sites,” explains Bryan Johnson, Madison’s recycling coordinator.

Depackaging And Digestion Demo In California
Smicon depackaging hopper (left), mobile, skid-mounted digesters (right)

A multiyear food waste-to-energy demonstration project in Goleta, California has been evaluating a source separated organics (SSO) food waste depackaging system followed by anaerobic digestion (AD) of the slurried organics.

EPA Food Recovery Challenge Awards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the winners — both nationally and by EPA Region — of its 2019 Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) winners.

New Jersey Governor Signs Food Waste Mandate
New Jersey food waste composting

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the food waste recycling mandate passed by the state legislature on March 5. A2371/S865 requires recycling of food waste by “large food waste generators” (i.e., certain commercial and institutional entities that produce at least 52 tons/year of preconsumer food waste)

COVID-19 Budget Cuts Cause Temporary Suspension Of NYC Organics Collection

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) announced on April 17 that, due to COVID-19 budget cuts, it is suspending the voluntary curbside composting program for food scraps and yard trimmings, beginning May 4, 2020.

Seattle’s Winning Strategy For Managing Organics
Seattle's three collection bins

When programs, garbage collection fees, or regulations cause households to move organics out of the garbage cart and into the organics cart, costs for managing MSW go down.
Jeffrey Morris

Readers Respond: COVID-19 And Organics Recycling
BioCycle readers

The BioCycle Community replies to Sally Brown

Food Waste Solutions Amid The Pandemic
ReFED, Better Together: Food system best practices for navigating COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how food waste solution providers and food businesses must operate to safely do their work, states ReFED, a food-focused organization.

Letter To The BioCycle Community: COVID-19 And Organics Recycling

Our existing knowledge of the behavior of coronaviruses in the environment can be applied to the current outbreak.
Sally Brown

Feed Chickens, Not Landfills
chickens eat food waste

A backyard chicken is expected to consume approximately 1.6 pounds of food scraps per week.
Maureen Breen

Food Waste Reduction Roadmap For Farms
WRAP's Hand-harvested crops grower guidance

New guidance released on March 17 by the United Kingdom’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) provides growers with advice on how best to measure food surplus and waste on farms to identify the causes — and to help inform where action is needed.

Counting Food Waste Tons Landfilled In Central Ohio

he Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) released the findings of its 2019 Waste Characterization, which documented that up to 76% of the material currently being sent to the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill could be recycled or composted.

March 5 Vote On New Jersey Food Waste Recycling Bill
New Jersey food waste composting

State Senate takes up legislation that requires large generators to source separate and recycle food waste.

Editorial: Does Food Waste = Contamination?
Nora Goldstein, BioCycle Editor

There is a distinct air of inevitability that introducing food waste automatically introduces plastic bags, packaging, compostable product lookalikes, etc.

New Jersey Food Waste Recycling — Countdown To January 14
New Jersey food waste composting

The New Jersey Legislature is in the midst of a lame duck session that ends on January 14, 2020. Three pieces of food waste legislation are still pending and could be passed by the Legislature over the next several weeks. The three bills differ in key respects, and are based in part on legislation that has been enacted in other states.
BioCycle December 2019

Composting Roundup
Carbon sequestration testing

BioCycle November/December 2019

Is Your Yard Trimmings Composting Site Food Waste Ready?
food waste, yard trimmings composting site

A new Community Toolkit walks municipal officials and facility operators through a series of considerations to determine if introducing food waste streams is a good fit.
Nora Goldstein and Coryanne Mansell
BioCycle November/December 2019

Music Festivals Amp Up Organics Recycling Game
Food waste and certified compostable products were accepted in the compostables bin (right). Compost Crusader, based in Milwaukee, composted the materials.

Farm Aid has greatly increased organics diversion since 2007. Inspired by its partnership with Farm Aid, Live Nation announced its zero waste goal in September 2018.
Stephanie Katsaros
BioCycle November/December 2019

Sanitation Districts Gear Up For Food Waste Codigestion
Food waste from commercial generators is loaded into a hopper with augers that move the material to the bioseparators.

Los Angeles County began operating its commercial food waste preprocessing facility. The slurry will be digested at the county’s Joint Water Pollution Control Plant.
Kelly Sarber
BioCycle November/December 2019

Deep Dive Into Food Waste Management (Sourcing To Digesting)
Julie Schilf, U.S. EPA Region 5

BioCycle REFOR19 continues our in-depth coverage of a wide range of topics related to food recovery and food waste recycling.
BioCycle September/October 2019

Evolution Of A Food Waste Digester
North State Rendering Co., Inc.’s (NSR) anaerobic digestion facility produces RNG for vehicle fuel (left). NSR has accepted clean high strength organics streams (middle) for a number of years, and recently installed a depackager to increase its ability to process packaged food waste (right).

A digester built in 2012 by a rendering company to process its residuals is evolving into a merchant facility to manage all types of food waste streams.
Nora Goldstein
BioCycle September/October 2019

Composting Roundup
Compost from Windham Solid Waste District's (Brattleboro, Vermont) is being used on this industrial hemp in Massachusetts.

BioCycle August 2019

Front Of House Organics Collection
Waste audits (right) were conducted at a variety of food service establishments to determine capture rates, diversion rates and contamination rates for trash, recycling, and composting bins. Having simple, customized and visually-based signs (left) placed on collection bins all grouped together was recommended at all establishments.

Food scraps and napkins made up at least 57 percent of the contents of the composting bin in every sector, contrary to the belief that FOH collections are mostly packaging.
Kate Bailey and Brenna Raeder
BioCycle August 2019

Food Scraps Composting Grows In Illinois
The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County is promoting food scraps collection to help boost recycling. Midwest Organics Recycling in Wauconda Township is where many of the scraps are taken.

Over a dozen composting sites accept food waste, sparking expansion of residential, commercial and institutional diversion programs.
Marsha Johnston
BioCycle August 2019

Connections: The Maggots’ Buffet
Sally Brown

Sally Brown
BioCycle August 2019

Composting Roundup
Sustainable Generation SG Mobile™ Systems with GORE® Covers at Miramar Greenery

BioCycle July 2019

The Organics Recycling Messaging Dilemma
Organics, composting, recycling bin labeling

Initial national survey findings on organics labeling, terminology, and color preferences shed light on how to communicate to the public to achieve a successful organics collection program.
Kayla Walsh
BioCycle July 2019

Food Waste Depackaging Systems
Packaging output from a Dupps-Mavitec food waste processing unit.

Newer models separate packaging with the least amount of applied force necessary to avoid splintering of the packaging. Depackager options are described.
Craig Coker
BioCycle July 2019

Composting Roundup
Soil Cycles of Harrisonburg, Virginia, collects local food waste via bicycle.

BioCycle May/June 2019

Winning Food Waste Reduction Strategy
Source separated kitchen food waste and material from the employee restaurant are composted at the City of San Diego’s Miramar Greenery.

What does it take for one of the largest hotels in San Diego, California, to reduce food waste?
Ana Carvalho
BioCycle May/June 2019

Composting Roundup
Collins Farm

BioCycle March/April 2019

Rhode To End Hunger

Rhode Island Department of Health program addresses the related issues of food wastage and state residents going hungry by connecting food donors and receivers such as pantries.
Kristy M. Whitcomb
BioCycle March/April 2019

Composting Roundup
Current use of backyard composting in Vermont

BioCycle February 2019

Food Waste Composting Infrastructure In The U.S.
Figure 4. Composting methods utilizedat full-scale food wastecomposting facilities

A recently completed BioCycle survey identified a total of 185 full-scale food waste composting facilities in the U.S.
Nora Goldstein
BioCycle January 2019

Dual Purpose Composting Facility
A gazebo-like composting structure, similar to the example above (in foreground), will be built at the demonstration facility. It is a medium-sized system, enclosed on four sides, designed to manage manure from 5 to 20 horses.

New Veteran Compost site in Maryland combines public education and training with
full-scale food waste composting.
Marsha W. Johnston
BioCycle October 2018

Organic Waste Bans And Recycling Laws To Tackle Food Waste
Organic Waste Bans And Recycling Laws To Tackle Food Waste

State and local governments have explored policy avenues to reduce and manage food waste.
E. Broad Leib, K. Sandson, L. Macaluso and C. Mansell
BioCycle September 2018

Hyperlocal Food To Soil Loops
Food2Soil team (top, from left to right): Skyler Wilder, Richard Williamson, Tara Stowell, Sarah Boltwala-Mesina and Jennifer Linder. Signage (bottom) describes Food2Soil’s mission of recovering food scraps to make “soil food.”

San Diego nonprofit collaborates with local generators, growers and gardeners “to transform food scraps into social, environmental and economic goods for communities.”
Richard Flammer
BioCycle August 2018

On-Site, Large-Scale Food Waste Composting
Figure 1. Wright Tech Systems, Inc.’s tunnel system zones

Ohio University’s in-vessel composting facility processes about 100 to 120 tons/month of food waste and amendment during the academic year.
Dan Emerson
BioCycle July 2018

Growing A Food Waste Recycling Company
Most of Atlas Organics’ STA-certified compost is sold in bulk to area farmers. Commercial food waste clients receive 35- and 64-gallon carts; residential and small business customers utilize 5- or 13-gallon buckets as part of Atlas’ Compost House collection program (inset).

South Carolina-based Atlas Organics got its start collecting organics, then via a public private partnership, opened a composting facility at a county landfill.
Marsha W. Johnston
BioCycle June 2018

Science + Prisons Create Innovative Solutions
“These prisoners …. are fathers who care about the world their children are growing up in, they are environmentalists who care about the planet …,” said Nick Hacheney of his fellow “worm farmers” at the certification ceremony.

Sustainability in Prisons’ vermicomposting certification highlights how environmental science collaborations in prison benefit society and incarcerated people alike.
Nick Hacheney and Kelli Bush
BioCycle May 2018

From Drugs To Bugs
Black soldier fly larvae

My journey from a gang member to a Master Vermiculture Specialist.
Juan Carlos Hernandez
BioCycle May 2018

Partnership Launches Correctional Facility Composting
The retrofit required laying perforated piping on the floor, and installing fans and timers with a supporting electrical system. Food waste is composted with yard trimmings and soybean meal (inset).

Created via a unique public-private partnership, a converted cattle barn is being used to compost food waste from the prison and commercial generators.
Marsha W. Johnston
BioCycle May 2018

Waste Hauling Franchise Agreement Fundamentals
In Portland, Oregon, companies that haul only 100% source separated organics or recyclables are not required to obtain a commercial permit.

Niche haulers collecting food waste are encountering restrictions — and opportunities — posed by solid waste franchise agreements.
Craig Coker
BioCycle May 2018

Facilitating Food Waste Digestion
Dry fermentation digester at Blue Line Transfer processes about 11,000 tons/year of residential and commercial food waste and green waste.

Increasing volumes of commercial food waste, much of it contaminated or packaged, led digestion facility in South San Francisco to install a depackaging unit.
Nora Goldstein
BioCycle May 2018

K-12 School Food Recovery Roadmap
K-12 Wasted Food Reduction And Food Recovery Roadmap

Authors detail their journeys to implementing surplus food reduction and recovery programs at their K-12 school districts.
Nancy Deming and Janet Whited
BioCycle March/April 2018

Servicing Farms To Get Produce To Market
Boston Area Gleaners worked with The Food Project in Lincoln (MA) to glean butternut squash.

Professionally managed gleaning and value-added processing of gleaned harvests are contributing to enterprise creation and reducing the amount of food loss on farms. Part II
Marsha W. Johnston
BioCycle March/April 2018

Innovating To Reduce Wasted Food Left On Farms
Broccoli “fines”were a hit with Bon Appétit chefs, but the farmer recognized the volume of waste and changed processing equipment.

Gleaning and minimal processing have facilitated enterprise development and markets for edible produce that is unharvested or cosmetically imperfect. Part I
Marsha W. Johnston
BioCycle February 2018

Massachusetts Pioneers Food Waste Separators

Installation of food waste depackaging facilities across the state results in fewer commercial organics ban exemptions for packaged food generators.
Robert Spencer and Morgan Casella
BioCycle January 2018

Residential Food Waste Collection Access In The U.S.
Austin, TX, the newest program included in this year’s survey, just rolled out curbside service to 52,000 households at the beginning of October, and plans to expand to all households by 2020 (left). Anoka County, MN has two year-round drop-off locations at county yard trimmings sites. Each site has separate drop-off containers for food waste/soiled paper/compostable plastics, yard trimmings and tree waste (right).

Survey of residential food waste collection programs across the country from June to November 2017 ultimately identified 148 curbside collection and 67 drop-off programs.
Virginia Streeter and Brenda Platt
BioCycle December 2017

Keeping Compostables Out Of The Trash
Figure 4. Hangtag example

Research study tests three different outreach strategies to reduce amount of food scraps and food-soiled paper in residential trash bins.
K. Phelps, L. Large, W. Schultz and J. Ettlinger
BioCycle November 2017

Food Waste Reduction Strategies In K-12 Schools
Clear signage in cafeterias is key for maximizing food waste audit success.

The Iowa Waste Reduction Center’s K-12 audits and training, and the Environmental Research and Education Foundation’s SCrAP program, provide critical tools to reduce food waste.
Marsha W. Johnston
BioCycle  November 2017

Food Waste Infrastructure In Disposal Ban States
Food waste

Using various combinations, from reduction and recovery to composting and AD, the four New England states with organics disposal bans are advancing toward their capacity goals. Part II
Carol Adaire Jones
BioCycle November 2017

Moving Generators Towards Food Donation
The Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina recovers prepared food for donation.

A survey found that large food providers in the City of San Diego are adopting a more environmental, social and economic approach for their food purchasing and diversion systems.
Ana Carvalho
BioCycle October 2017

Digestibility Of  Food Waste-Derived Animal Feed
Dried supermarket food waste processed using the mobile dehydration unit (top). Dried food waste mixed into a complete diet for growing pigs (bottom).

Research study measured digestibility of targeted high value nutrients in three food waste streams in pig-feeding trial.
David Russick and Pedro E. Urriola
BioCycle October 2017

Correctional Facility Adopts Multiple Food Scraps Practices
Initially, only vegetative food scraps could be collected for vermicomposting due to the worms’ limited diet. Food scraps collection station (above)

Monroe Correctional Facility in Washington State uses low cost options — vermicomposting, fermentation and black solider flies — to process food scraps.
Nick Hacheney and Sally Brown
BioCycle October 2017

Wasted Food Reduction Opportunities
Vanderbilt University, Nashville

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation found most food recovery and organics recycling activities are performed by small businesses, nonprofits, and churches and targets assistance to those entities. Part II
Alle Crampton
BioCycle October 2017

Organics Disposal Bans And Processing Infrastructure
Figure 1. County population per square kilometer

The implied logic is that if a supply of organic feedstock can be created, the infrastructure to process it will be built. Has that happened in New England states with bans? Part I
Carol Adaire Jones
BioCycle September 2017

Increasing Composting Infrastructure In The Nation’s Capital
Approximately 60 tons/year of food scraps are composted through the D.C. Parks & Recreation Department’s (DPR) Community Compost Cooperative Network.

A recently released feasibility study analyzed options for recycling the District of Columbia’s food scraps and yard trimmings.
Marsha Johnston and Craig Coker
BioCycle August 2017

Residential Organics Diversion In Toronto
Source separated organics collection is available to 65 percent of Toronto’s multifamily residential buildings.

Almost 160,000 tons of source separated organics were collected for anaerobic digestion and/or composting in 2016. About 78% came from households.
Peter Gorrie
BioCycle August 2017

Food Waste To Renewable Natural Gas
Solid food waste feedstocks will be depackaged, decontaminated and slurried to 10 to 14 percent solids in the Re:Sep system (example installation above). The unit includes a vertical paddle mill with 2 sizes of screen mesh.

Groundbreaking held in June for 180,000 tons/year anaerobic digester that will generate up to 3,000 dekatherms/day of renewable natural gas.
Craig Coker
BioCycle August 2017

South Carolina Convention Center Tackles Food Waste
The Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, with the help of its chef, Tommy Kasperski (second from right) and Atlas Organics, diverted 18,000 pounds via donation and composting in the first year of the program.

Chef assists clients with accurate food ordering. Surplus is donated, and scraps are diverted to a composting facility.
Katrina Mendrey
BioCycle July 2017

On-Site Food Waste Pretreatment
Food Waste

Guide to equipment and systems for businesses, institutions and venues that manage food waste on-site.
Nora Goldstein and Charlotte Dreizen
BioCycle  July 2017

Merchant Biogas Plant Services Food Waste Generators
Facility layout: (1) Receiving building, reception pit and food waste preprocessing; (2) Retention/hydrolysis tank; (3) Acetogenesis tank; (4) Primary digester; (5) Digestate holding tank; (6) Biogas conditioning and CHP skid; Effluent polishing with (7) nitrogen removal and (8) aeration prior to discharge.

Connecticut anaerobic digester has capacity to process 40,000 tons/year of dry and liquid food waste. The host community is purchasing the renewable power.
Bob Spencer, Morgan Casella and Nora Goldstein
BioCycle July 2017

Bugs Eat Our Food Waste

The practice of entotechnology is another sustainable method to organic waste processing — producing food, whether for people, animals or fish.
Marsha W. Johnston
BioCycle June 2017

Organics Recycling Lands At Major Airports
SEA-TAC International Airport, servicing Seattle, accepts pre and postconsumer food waste from concessionaires and at public kiosks (above) in concourse food courts.

Where local infrastructure exists, systems are being put in place to make composting an easy addition
to waste diversion programs.
Katrina Mendrey
BioCycle June 2017

Measuring Food Loss And Waste
Material types and possible destinations under the FLW standard

An international standard creates a set of requirements for accounting and reporting on food loss and waste, providing a common language for measurement.
Brian Lipinski and Kai Robertson
BioCycle June 2017

Status Of Organics Recycling In The UK
UK Operational AD plants up to April 2016, and planned deployment to 2019

WRAP report on the United Kingdom’s organics recycling industry finds rapid growth in anaerobic digestion capacity, and a slight increase in composting capacity.
Craig Coker
BioCycle June 2017

Depackaging At Solid Waste Transfer Station
Storage area for packaged dry foods such as bread and cereal, to be loaded into the Scott Turbo Separator, and recovered for animal feed. An entire pallet of packaged food, inside a large cardboard box, can be tipped into the hopper for processing.

A Massachusetts trash hauling and recycling company invested in a mechanical separation system for food waste, opening up outlets for the processed material.
Bob Spencer and Morgan Casella
BioCycle May 2017

Keeping Compostables Stream Compostable
Paper straws have replaced plastic (left). Clamshells and cutlery must be certified compostable (middle). Plastic stir sticks, polystyrene lids and plastic-coated cups are prohibited (right).

All to-go food serviceware must be compostable or recyclable in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County.
Tim Goncharoff
BioCycle May 2017

Hennepin County Residential Food Scraps Diversion
Residents at a Minneapolis open house raise their hands if they signed up for the city’s residential curbside organics collection service. Households receive a 32-gallon organics cart.

Municipalities in this Minnesota region offer food scraps collection to households using a voluntary participation approach.
Dan Emerson
BioCycle May 2017

Teaming Up To Collect, Digest Food Waste
Natural Upcycling Services has a fleet of five Brown Industrial food waste collection trucks (example in top photo) that it uses to service commercial and institutional generators. A portion of the material collected is taken to the Noblehurst Green Energy digester in Livingston County, New York (above).

Natural Upcycling Services collects commercial food waste in western New York, diverting most of it to anaerobic digesters.
Katrina Mendrey
BioCycle May 2017

Food Recovery Innovators
DC Central Kitchen

Does Your Solution Have Significant Potential To Scale?
BioCycle March/April 2017

Calculating Economic Impact Of Commercial Organics Ban
Figure 1. Average number of employees per business

Quantitative and qualitative analysis conducted in Massachusetts indicates growth in employment and revenues
after implementation of the commercial organics waste ban.
John Fischer and Elizabeth Johnston
BioCycle March/April 2017

Tackling Food Waste In Iowa’s K-12 Schools
Central Community School District students with teacher, Ann Gritzner (right), showcase the new sign for their composting site.

Audits at 17 schools found students generate more food waste at lunch than an initial estimate of 0.1 lbs/student, creating a baseline for prevention and recovery steps.
Mallory Feeney
BioCycle March/April 2017

Postmortem Of A Food Scraps Composting Facility
Black Bear Composting (BBC) stopped accepting new materials for composting in December 2016. It is open to sell remaining compost.

Founder and owner of Black Bear Composting in Crimora, Virginia, which closed its composting operation but continues to offer organics collection, relates his experiences and lessons learned.
Eric Walter
BioCycle March/April 2017