Sunday, February 05, 2012

Compost Crunch

About a thousand HoCo residents are now participating in the HoCo kitchen waste recycling program reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfills by 25%. By most measures the program has been a success yet, according to this story by Kevin Rector in Explore Howard, “it's future is also mired in uncertainty.”

"With what's going on in Annapolis and what's going to happen with our budgets, I'm not sure yet," said Howard County Department of Public Works Environmental Services Bureau Chief Evelyn Tomlin on the program's future. "I think we're really going to see a real impact on what we can do."

Right now the biggest problem is where the stuff in the green bin ends up after it leaves the curb. When the program started in 2010, the collection of banana peels, egg shells and pizza boxes were trucked just across the border to a composting facility in Carroll County, Woodbine based Recycled Green Industries. The privately held business, which once processed over a half million cubic yards of organic waste every year, agreed to stop accepting food waste in December after being notified by the Maryland Department of the Environment that they were out of compliance with state regulations. According to this story by Jeremy Carroll in Waste and Recycling News, DOE spokesperson Samantha Kappalmen, said “composting can cause surface and ground water pollution and it is important for composting to be done within the state’s regulatory requirements…”

Does this mean that HoCo’s green can initiative has helped make Carroll brown?

Now our wet garbage is traveling across the state line to another company facility where, either it is in compliance, or the regulatory environment is just more favorable.
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