Entries by Lynn Lucas

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Don’t burn or bury compostables

Is it really a good idea to make compostable waste go away and never come back?  Each year, taxpayers collectively spend millions of dollars to burn or bury compostables.  Much like a tribe of ubiquitous Gollums, they just want garbage — the biodegradable and putrefying fraction of the municipal solid waste stream – to go away and never […]

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How to make compost fast

How to make compost fast The desire to make compost fast can be driven by space restrictions, the need for more product, or simple impatience.   It’s a common goal for composters everywhere, from the backyard to industrial facilities. Unfortunately, wishing will never make it so.  The speediest course from raw feedstock to finished quality compost is […]

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What is a composting facility package plant?

What is a composting facility package plant? In the water/wastewater treatment and composting industries, a package plant typically refers to a small, prefabricated unit dropped on-site, ready to connect to the larger system.  A McGill composting facility package plant is different. Since McGill doesn’t build small facilities, its “package” is actually a set of blueprints and specifications for […]

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Does composting release CO2?

Does composting release CO2? Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the composting mass are classified as biogenic. This means the same amount of gas is emitted during decomposition whether the organic material is composted or degrades in a natural setting.  Therefore, these emissions are considered carbon-neutral. Compared to waste management alternatives, it’s the best of the […]

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Commercial vs. industrial composting: are they the same?

Commercial vs. industrial composting:  are they the same?  Commercial vs. industrial composting — no, they are not the same, though the terms may be used interchangeably on the web.  But one word has to do with the money trail and the type of organization that owns the facility.  The other is linked to operational scale and/or manufacturing approach.  A government-owned […]

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Topic: healthy soil – compost feeds soil

Compost is soil’s superhero Sure, compost adds nutrients. But that might be this soil amendment’s least important function.  Quite often, articles will mention compost as a replacement for some or all of the nutrients that might be provided to plants through applications of synthetic (man-made) fertilizers.    That’s certainly true.  Compost delivers the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK), plus a slew of plant-essential […]

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Topic: healthy soil – use compost to manage stormwater

Comparing costs per gallon retained  Soil amendment is one of the least expensive ways to collect and manage stormwater  “Manage water where it falls.”  This sound advice is the foundation of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Regional Green Infrastructure Plan, a program that identified soil amendment as one of the least expensive ways to manage stormwater.  At 28 cents per gallon, improving soil is […]

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Topic: Urban organics recycling – food waste mandates

Food waste mandates are only the halfway mark  Compost use gets organics recycling to the finish line  Unlike a decade ago, when food waste mandates were few and far between, there is a flurry of activity these days focused on diverting food waste and other residential/commercial biodegradables from landfills and incineration.  From the U.S. to Italy to northern India, the movement toward more sustainable management of organic waste from households and businesses is real […]

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Topic: industrial composting – making sense of research data for composting cost comparisons

Making sense of research data Evaluating organic waste management options and cost comparisons When personal expertise is lacking, people place their trust in experts to facilitate decisions about everything from home additions to medical care.  Governing boards are no different.  They rely on the knowledge of utility directors, staff engineers, and consultants to help them […]

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Topic: industrial composting — before choosing a composting system

3 questions to ask before choosing a composting system When evaluating choices for organics diversion, system cost tends to be a major influence in whittling down the available options.  But is capital investment a good indicator of true costs over the decades of composting facility operation? There are many questions decision-makers need to ask before […]