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Riches in the Trash Heap

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Next time temptation knocks on the door telling you to ship organic trash on a one-way trip to the landfill, think twice about the energy, fertilizer, and compost wealth you’re wasting.

One company, Massachusetts-based Harvest Power, has built a showcase business model putting organic waste to better uses.

It has provided a short list of recommendations for what people can do at the local level to capitalize on the energy potential of typical throw-away items like pizza crust and banana peels.

Top 5 Local Opportunities for Utilizing Organics

  1. Compost, compost, compost! It doesn’t take much equipment or expertise to set up a backyard (or back stoop) compost bin, and everyone has the ingredients!
  2. Use a community compost heap. Most local dumps offer areas to dispose of compostable materials. If you can’t get to the compost heap, some cities offer special services to collect your organic waste for a small fee.
  3. Get involved with your local government. Many city councils are proposing organic waste pickups. The folks at Cool 2012 — Compostable Organics Out of Landfills by 2012 — can help your efforts get off the ground. 

(My note: Even though composting is a great practice, it also creates methane.)
  4. Support stores and restaurants that source separate organics. Many businesses that generate organic waste compost, and they’ll be glad to tell you about it if you ask. Support these businesses, since they are part of the solution.
  5. Shop smart! Food waste prevention is the best way to save energy (and money!).  Shop wisely and protect your produce using tips from Love Food Hate Waste.

The best is how Harvest Power not only uses organic materials to enrich the soil but to produce energy, using the methane that is naturally produced everywhere on this planet from decomposition.

On its website, the company says it enables communities to produce renewable energy and high-value soil, mulch, and organic fertilizer products from organic materials. The company harnesses the full potential of organic materials by recycling energy and nutrients back into local communities through its energy gardens and its production of nutrient-rich soils, mulches, and fertilizers. It is worth a visit to watch how organic waste can be managed to harvest energy and better soil.

Photo: Harvest Power

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