What is food scrap diversion?
It it widely accepted that food waste and compostable paper comprised 32% of the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) waste stream. Food scrap diversion is a process of turning food scraps and other organic waste into nutrient-rich compost.
Many commercial and institutional facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, and school and hospital cafeterias are now required to have food waste diversion systems in place. Commercial food waste includes raw and cooked food and other compostable organic material from commercial and institutional premises.
Benefits of Food Scrap Diversion Projects:
- Food scraps are diverted from county landfills, extending the landfill’s life.
- The environmental impacts of hauling tons of food scraps to county landfill-air pollution, transportation congestion, depletion of fossil fuels-were avoided. The resulting compost was used to improve local soils.
- As industrial and commercial projects become prevalent, individuals will become more willing to compost their own food scraps at home.
- Selling the resulting compost will allow for payback for project related costs within a few years.
Generally food waste is organic and will decompose, but when mixed with other waste in the landfill food waste actually contributes to the production and release of harmful gases which potentially cause environmental damage. In fact, food scraps are the third largest segment of the waste stream with nearly 26 million tons generated each year. Of the overall aste stream,about 12% is food-related, behind paper and plastic
However, by composting your food waste, you can actually put that waste to good use by putting it back back into the earth. The resulting compost can be used in a variety of different ways to support your yard or garden.
Compostable Food Items:
- Uncooked vegetables and peelings
- Tea bags
- Crushed egg shells
- Coffee grounds
- Non-food materials such as plants and flowers, grass clippings, leaves and shredded paper, cardboard.
Non-compostable Food Items:
- Food which has been cooked. Cooked food, even vegetables, can attract vermin
- Meat or fish
- Dairy products
- Non-food items such as cat or dog litter, large pieces of wood, coal ash
- Plastics and metals.
How to Compost
You will need to buy or make a compost bin to effectively to manage your waste to create compost. Check with your local municipality for compost bin rebate programs.
Place your compost bin on a level, well-drained area. Make sure that the base of your compost bin is open and place it on soil ideally. This is so that the compost can absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil below easily. It also enables creatures like worms to get into the waste and they help break it down into compost.
Cover the compost bin with a water-proof cover. Every three months you will need to stir the compost pile until it is ready. The process can take anywhere from four to 18 months depending upon your climate and the types of waste in the compost pile. The compost is ready when the compost is a consistent dark brown and develops an earthy smell.
Tips for Composting
- The ideal composting mixture will be a combination of all the materials in the first list above.
- Small items tend to compost faster. Cut larger items into smaller pieces to speed the composting process.
- Add fresh water periodically to maintain the needed moisture level for a healthy compost pile, but do not over-water. If your compost pile gives off a strong odor, add less water and add wood chips or cardboard to soak up the additional moisture.
- Access to direct sunlight will speed the composting process.
Easy and Quick Composting For those that may not want to deal with the physical demands or time it takes for a compost pile to mature, we recommend the use of a tumbling composter Tumbling is the most effective method for making compost quickly because it evenly mixes nitrogen and carbon materials(green and brown) for optimal eco-interaction. Add the benefit of complete distribution of moisture, air, and organic microbes throughout the batch and you’ll create conditions perfect for express composting. Vented ends provide optimal aeration so this tumbler will help create finished compost 4 to10 times quicker than a tradition composting bed. Plus its resistant to animal entry and it’s easy to turn. Just load up the composting drum and tumble it a couple times a week. Nature will do the rest as it creates nutrient rich organic compost in as little as 3 weeks.
Checkout our indoor composters and yard composters.
Full Life Cycle
The use of a composting toilet system allows for human waste to become soil amendment for trees, landscaping and non-edible plants.
Reduce Water Use by 20% – 50%
The reduction in use of reticulated water for flushing, combined with the possible use of grey water can be a significant benefit in reducing home water usage.
Food Waste Management
Composting toilet systems may also be accept certain food waste, which will reduce the amount of food waste that will end up in the landfill.
Reduce Monthly Costs
The use of composting toilet system users benefit from the reduction or elimination of sewage rates and metered water billing, which can result in the savings of $400 – $650 per year.
Systems can be installed in a multitude of environments, including remote, high water table, lack of municipal water supply and environmentally sensitive areas.
Waste Management Facility Infrastructure Reduction
Each composting toilet system that is installed reduces the amount of waste that would need to be transported and treated at the local treatment facility. This will help to reduce some of the capacity and prolong the useful life of existing infrastructure.
Green Your Pet Litter
Recently, with environmental awareness on the rise, there have been some concerns about the environmental impact of animal waste and pet litter.
Pet owners are faced with determining how they should dispose of their pet’s waste most responsibly, what type of pet litter they should use, whether they in fact need pet litter and what the best way to dispose of pet litter is.
Commercial Pet Litters
There are a variety of pet litters available to buy in grocery and pet supply stores. The magnitude of choices can make it difficult to know which to choose. Two of the main types of commercial litter are are Clay-Based Pet Litters and “Green’ Pet Litters.
Clay-based pet litter is usually made from an absorbent clay called sodium bentonite. It’s clumping abilities mean that soiled clumps can easily be lifted out by pet owners, without them having to change all the litter in the tray. The only way to dispose of this type of cat litter is to send it to landfill. It can’t be flushed away. Plus, the sodium bentonite that acts as the clumping agent can poison your cat through chronic ingestion through their fastidious need to groom. Because sodium bentonite acts like expanding cement-it’s also used as a grouting, sealing, and plugging material-it can swell up to 15 to18 times their dry size and clog up your cat’s insides.
There are several other issues with the clay-based cat litters. The clay-mining processes used can be quite damaging to the environment. Clay sediment is also permeated with carcinogenic silica dust that can coat lungs.
There are now a wide range of green pet litters available on the market. They are made of natural or recycled materials such as corn kernels, recycled paper and sawdust. Most green pet litter choices are either biodegradable or can be safely flushed down the toilet. This is a preferable choice for many pet owners who don’t want to contribute to landfill waste.
diy pET LITTER
Many environmentally conscious pet owners prefer to re-use some of their own household waste as litter for pets such as cats, rather than paying for ‘green’ pet litter or, worse, paying for commercial pet litter which is made from harmful chemicals and can only be sent to landfill.
Useful household waste and natural pet litters include:
- Shredded newspaper; and
- Pine leaves
Some pet owners limit their use of pet litter as much as possible. For instance, many cat owners have ‘trained’ their cats to mainly go outside when they need to go! Cats will usually bury their own waste, so do not need to be monitored or cleaned up after in the same way as dogs.
Composting Pet Litter
There is much argument over whether it is safe to compost biodegradable cat and pet litters. The arguments centre around the fact that some pet feces, such as cat and dog droppings, can contain organisms which are dangerous to humans.
However, some experts say that it is safe to compost cat and dog litter ONLY if you compost it separately from the main compost heap and well away from any vegetables. They also suggest burying the actual feces and composting the litter only.
As cat feces can cause potentially fatal toxoplasmosis, a lot of pet owners would prefer to err on the side of caution and do not compost their litter.