Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Food waste recycling

From the Seattle Times:

Food-trash recycling at homes to be required by Seattle in '09

The good news:
"All single-family homes in Seattle must sign up for table-scrap recycling in 2009, the City Council decided Monday."

The bad news:
"While residents will have to pay for the service, the city will not check whether they are actually dumping food in the new separate bin.... Recycling food waste will be voluntary for apartments, as well as for businesses, which produce twice as much food waste as residents."


Right now, food waste pickup is every other week so we can't put in dairy or meat scraps because it supposedly attracts animals. The argument lately has been to move toward weekly pickup so we can include these items.

I would much rather see weekly pickup for those people who will actually employ food waste recycling instead of charging people and then not following up or encouraging them to do so. It seems like an empty gesture. Perhaps this is just a baby-step to policing and enforcing compliance (kind of like what happened with our recycling program).


Anonymous said...

Are there many cities that have food scrap pick-ups? I have never lived anywhere that has a program like this. We just compost at home. What does the city do with the compost? (I assume they compost the food scraps)Do they sell it?

RedGypsie said...

Why not come up with a way to encourage home gardens and food composting at home, rather than another city program and all the expense and taxes that go with it? From a distance, I wouldn't be surprised a bit to hear a city like Seattle doing something like that, whereas I am a bit surprised to hear they cart it away like other cities do with leaves. Oh the organic matter we waste....

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised they will make it mandatory - how will the police this? Will those that don't do it be fined? Is the guy driving the regular trash truck going to look in each binfull as its put into the truck?

Dairy and meat products don't compost well from what I've heard. We toss them into the regular trash - but we compost all plant matter and recycle all else.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I think has said that her city has requierd composting. I think it's an interesting concept, but definiotely needs a bit more fine tuning.

Christy said...

They were going to stop taking yard waste in our trash and make people start composting but there was such an uproar they cancelled it. Wimps.

April said...

Wow! That's amazing. I want to know whay they will do with all of it too.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Both Seattle and King County have an agreement with Cedar Grove Compost - they compost all the yard waste and food waste and then sell it.

The only difference is that the other cities in King County can put in meat and dairy since they have weekly pick up. Apparently, since Cedar Grove uses high-temperature composting and covered piles, they can handle meat and dairy just fine.

Most people are not going to have their own compost piles - and 30% of the garbage going into the landfills are food waste or food soiled paper. This type of waste creates a tremendous amount of methane.

So, while I'd like to see more individuals do their own composting, this makes it more accessible to everyone.

Regarding policing - right now if you put more than 10% recyclable materials in your garbage you will get a 3 notices before you get fined $50 (for businesses and apartments). I think the drivers just eyeball it.

Single-family homes don't get fined, they just get punished by not having their garbage picked up for a week.

I suspect the same sort of thing will eventually happen with food waste.

Angel said...

Wow, that's incredible. I'm hoping it will move to a stronger policy on food waste & be an example to other American cities that this can be done.

It's very common here in Europe. If food waste isn't picked up, then composting is expected. You can received a huge fine if you choose not to comply. When we first arrived a few years ago, I thought it was insane, but it makes perfect sense & can work very well. We returned last year, I was distress at how much we were forced to throw away. Now that we are back, it's easy to slip right back into to a better recycling routine.

Miss Kris said...

We recently cancelled our Yard Waste Bin service because (1) the bin is so big and we were only using it for food waste (our townhome doesn't have a large yard area), (2) our neighbors were putting items in the bin that were not appropriate including animal waste, and (3) it attracted flies like no tomorrow. I made a compost bin last weekend from a plastic bin we had that wasn't being used. I'm hoping that we avoid the problems that we had with the Yard Waste Bin. If this new regulation stays in effect, I really hope that the city plans on giving more bin options for those of us who do not have the space for another big city-provided bin.