Johnson City, Tennessee: School Teacher Launches Composting Site
Joe Hoffman, a high school science teacher, recently opened Hoffman Composting, located on the outskirts of Johnson City. The site is fully permitted by the State of Tennessee to accept food waste. Hoffman’s background is in sustainable agriculture, having received a degree in Agronomy-International Agriculture and working with and learning from farmers and researchers in Tennessee, Wisconsin, Mexico and Ecuador for over 20 years. “I was drawn to composting as a way for our communities to get the most out of their physical and economic resources,” notes Hoffman. The composting pad is a 60-foot by 80-foot cement slab located at a former industrial property. Food scraps, leaves and ground wood are composted in aerated static piles, with the fans powered by solar panels.
Hoffman Composting also offers organics collection. Households can sign up for weekly collection for $10/month; they receive a 2-gallon container for the kitchen, compostable liner bags, and a 5-gallon bucket to set out. Coffee shops pay $15/month and receive four 5-gallon buckets and weekly collection. The fee for restaurants, grocery stores and institutions is $20/month for weekly collection of a 32-gallon can, or $33/month for weekly collection of a 64-gallon roll cart. (Multiple weekly collections are available.) Finished compost is available for sale.
Hudson Valley, New York: Racing To Achieve Zero Waste
The Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park in Hudson Valley — a 19th century railroad bridge transformed into the world’s longest linear park — hosts a weekend full of running events known as the Walkway Marathon. For the past two years, marathon organizers have taken a Sustainability Pledge through Athletes for a Fit Planet (AFP). By meeting requirements of the pledge, events can be promoted as officially sustainable according to AFP’s criteria that include using a minimum of 10 “eco-practices.” Those practices include 100 percent online registration and virtual race packages; recycling and composting receptacles at the event; and offering a ride-sharing program.
In addition to meeting required practices, the Walkway Marathon’s Green Team arranged hybrid buses to transport runners from point-to-point, offered medals and prizes made from recycled materials, reused over 80 percent of signage from the 2015 race, added environmentally educational signs at 36 mile markers, and provided waste education to the 2,400 runners and 10,000 spectators. This year, a waste diversion rate of 73 percent was achieved. Waste stations and vendors collected 1,545 pounds of organic material to be composted at Greenway Environmental in Clintondale (NY). Despite the high diversion rate, the 2016 race generated two times more waste than in 2015. This spike was due mainly to the addition of five food trucks to the vendor list, according to Walkway Board of Director Kathy Smith. Although vendors were given a 10-minute orientation about proper waste handling, 300 pounds of collected organic waste had to be redirected to disposal due to contamination. In the future, Smith plans to add volunteer coverage to vendor areas throughout the event.
West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania: Key Compostable Standard To Be Revised
The ASTM D6868 composting standard, widely used by third-party certifiers and laboratories to help manufacturers make verifiable claims about their products, is scheduled for revision, according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International Committee on Plastics (D20). The D6868 specification establishes the requirements for labeling of materials and products including packaging, whereby a biodegradable plastic film or coating is attached to paper or other compostable substrates, and the entire product or package is designed to be composted in municipal and industrial aerobic composting facilities. “Each ASTM Standard must be renewed or revised at least once every 5 years — Section 10.6.3 of the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees requires that update to be completed by the end of the eighth year since the last approval date,” explains Rhodes Yepsen, Executive Director of the Biodegradable Products Institute. “The last time ASTM D6868 was approved was in 2011, so it’s up for renewal, and has a limited window.”