Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Turning Princeton's Organic Waste into Compost and Energy

Anyone wishing to know more about where foodwaste collected curbside in Princeton is taken can read about the compost operation at this link.

In the comments section of the NY Times article, I found links to some excellent articles on how yard and wood waste are being utilized in Europe for energy production. If Princeton has any aspirations to become sustainable, it needs to look to local sources of energy. The main source is the sunlight falling on the town. But the energy in brush, foodwaste, yard waste, and even our garbage and sewage sludge are currently being wasted. Instead of being utilized for energy production, these rejects of society require large amounts of fossil fuel energy to compost, landfill, or, in the case of sewage sludge, incinerate.

Here, and here, are the links to ways waste has been turned into energy in Europe, including a new generation of trash incinerators that minimize air pollution. Incinerators are now being located close to upscale communities in Europe, making it possible to utilize the heat generated by the plants, as well as the electricity.

It is particularly timely in New Jersey to be finding ways to convert wood waste to energy, because our very common ash trees are about to be devastated by the exotic Emerald Ash Borer, which will be coming into the state as it expands it range eastward from Pennsylvania. The pest, which kills all species of ash tree, originally found its way to the U.S. from Asia in wooden packing crates. Millions of trees have already been killed, following the pest's initial introduction into Michigan back in the 1990s.

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