Monday, November 24, 2014

Seeking a Foodwaste Composting Site In NJ

There was a surprise announcement a couple months ago at a Princeton municipal council meeting. The plant in Wilmington, DE where Princeton's foodwaste was being trucked to has closed. A September 26 article in Delaware Public Media suggests it is unlikely to reopen. I've heard that Princeton is now trucking its foodwaste to a pig farmer in south Jersey, but the pigs and the farmer aren't happy with all the paper and yardwaste mixed in.

What to do? There are a number of options in the works.

As described to me by Tom Tjanick, AgriArk is in Trenton and uses
"a proprietary biological microbe to break down food waste/ organics in an anaerobic environment that produces a soil amendment that acts as a replacement for chemical fertilizers. Our process actually sequesters large volumes of CO2 back to the soil." 
There's an informative writeup on the company at this link. Sounds like they're ready to go if sufficient funding comes along.

Trenton Biogas
This company got approval to convert a never-used sludge plant into a facility than can convert foodwaste into energy. Informative writeup here.

Gloucester City Organic Conversion
Fifty miles south of Princeton, construction is beginning on another plant to convert foodwaste, yardwaste and brush into energy and compost. A 2012 article with a drawing of the facility is here.

Co-composting with yardwaste/leaves
If Princeton shifts towards containerization of yardwaste by providing rollout bins to residents, as has been done successfully in other municipalities, it's possible that foodwaste could eventually be put in the rollout bins as well and co-composted in windrows with the yardwaste. This would require a permit from the DEP, which a DEP official made sound not too terribly onerous to acquire. The result should bring a significant savings from reduced landfill tipping fees and a merging and streamlining of the town's foodwaste and yardwaste collections.

With interest rates low, it's a good time for governments local and regional to be investing in these solutions, rather than continuing indefinitely with the bandaid approach.

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