Production of August BioCycle overlaps with the Summer Olympic games in Rio. Watching athletes from around the world put themselves out there in hopes of winning the gold is inspiring, sometimes breathtaking. The rigor of training, the intensity of competition, the dedication and discipline — are there parallels to our world of organics recycling?
First there is the obvious. Retail compost products with names like Black Gold, Gardeners’ Gold and Glacier Gold. What about gold medals? The first hit on a Google search, “’gold’ medal of composting,” was a 2004 BioCycle article, “Gold Medal For Composting Is Only One-Third The Story.” This was a feature on EKO Systems’ composting site in Maui, which had received the Gold 2004 Composting Excellence Award from the Solid Waste Association of North America.
What about other parallels with Olympic athletes? Consider the following:
Rigor of Training: From source separation of organics to manufacturing of high quality products, training is a must for organics recyclers. Training — and retraining — is one of the most effective methods to keep contaminants out of organic waste streams. Training operators is a number one priority for composting and anaerobic digestion facilities, and organics collection services. The art and the science of successfully turning organic waste into “gold” is being a master of managing microbes, aka, biological activity.
Intensity of Competition: Competition is intense, not from other composters or digesters necessarily, but from solid waste haulers and landfills that want the same feedstocks. Increasingly, to win the gold in organics recycling, the key is to focus on building and supplying end markets with renewable power, fuels, compost and digestate.