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Recycling urban organics


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High-rate composting in indoor facilities is the ticket to safe, unobtrusive, volume recycling of tough urban organics like sludge and biodegradable plastics.

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Recycling urban organics

  1. 1. Zero Waste RECYCLING URBAN O R G A N I C S SludgeDirty paperYard wasteFood waste
  2. 2. On average, 40-60% of home, business and commercial discards are compostable using modern, high-rate systems.
  3. 3. Urban organics include: • Sludge (DAF, biosolids, alum, ferric) • Digestate/residuals from bioenergy production • Unpainted/untreated wood, yard waste • Waxed/unwaxed/dirty paper and cardboard • Pallets • Food waste, including meat and dairy • Fats, oil, grease (FOG) • Compostable plastics • Natural fiber textiles • Animal mortality Also compostable: unpainted/untreated gypsum board
  4. 4. Economic fact High-rate composting can be cheaper than landfills, WTE and incinerators in many locales
  5. 5. Why don’t more cities recycle organics?
  6. 6. NO mandates Regulations have not kept pace with advancements in composting technologies or the soil, air, and water quality protections attributed to compost use.
  7. 7. NO motivation • Plenty of landfill space • Low tipping fees • Environmental issues not a priority
  8. 8. Source-separation of organics is viewed as an insurmountable barrier to curbside collection. NO collection strategy Source separation viewed as an insurmountable obstacle
  9. 9. NO awareness Decision-makers have not kept pace with composting industry advancements
  10. 10. Too focused on the trees instead of the forest NO big picture thinking
  11. 11. Urban organics in a landfill • Shorten landfill life • Generate leachate and methane • Do not recycle organic matter
  12. 12. Urban organics as incinerator/WTE fodder • Require expensive scrubbers • Add to a waste stream requiring disposal • Do not recycle organic matter
  13. 13. Urban organics as compost feedstocks* • Uses simple, inexpensive biofilters to minimize odors • Advanced facilities generate no leachate • Recycles organic matter through the manufacture and use of quality compost products *Assumes a modern, high-rate composting system
  14. 14. Why is indoor high-rate composting better than outdoor windrow?
  15. 15. Control
  16. 16. Control Weather impacts
  17. 17. Control Temperatures
  18. 18. Control Environmental impacts
  19. 19. How?
  20. 20. Indoor operations
  21. 21. Biofiltration systems
  22. 22. Computerized process control
  23. 23. C:N ratios Meeting all blending targets Homogeneity Porosity Moisture Particle size
  24. 24. This delivers: • Smaller facilities with 10x the throughput* • Higher levels of environmental protection • Increased revenue potential* vs *Compared to windrow on the same acreage
  25. 25. This delivers: Freedom from preventable nuisance complaints, NOVs, fines, legal fees
  26. 26. siting closer to urban centers to reduce transportation costs and transportation- related carbon emissions. Allowing
  27. 27. siting on smaller parcels where industrial acreage is scarce and expensive. Allowing
  28. 28. near-invisible operations compatible with most urban industrial zones. Allowing
  29. 29. resource capture, recovery and reuse in the home region instead of export to external communities. Allowing KEEP IT LOCAL
  30. 30. CREDITS Production costs for this title were underwritten by McGill. Its use is permitted for educational purposes if presented in its entirety and without editing or other alteration. ©McGill Environmental Systems of N.C. Inc. Questions? Call McGill HQ at 919-362-1161 or use a contact form at