The organics recycling industry sees a constant stream of new ideas, products, mechanisms, and systems, each attempting to improve the way organic residuals are handled, processed or turned into a value-added commodity. Some of these innovations seek to improve the process biology and biochemistry. Let’s call these “Better Bugs.” Others offer potential improvements to the physical, mechanical or combination of components that transform organic residuals. These fall in the category of “Better Mousetraps.”
Many of the Better Bugs and Mousetraps appear to hold promise while others are questionable. Nearly all of them are intriguing. It is interesting to observe how well these ideas work in practice or how a particular concept or product plays out in the marketplace, the ultimate proving ground. If even a few of the Better Bugs and Better Mousetraps are in fact better, then it is worth noting their comings and goings.
This article describes a selected cross section of some of the innovations that have come across my desk, as the technical editor of BioCycle,examples that I have found to be more interesting. They represent a snapshot of efforts to improve the state of the art, and suggest trends in the organics recycling industry. The Better Bugs and Better Mousetraps covered here primarily concern composting, but a few involve other organics recycling technologies. The article does not provide an assessment of the Better Bugs and Better Mousetraps covered, and it certainly does not intend any endorsement or criticism of them. Names of products and vendors are not directly mentioned.