Editorial: Tracking The Industry

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Courtesy of BioCycle Magazine

A MARKET Of Opportunity.” That is how we define the continually expanding organics recycling sector in a headline on the Industry Profile page in BioCycle’s 2017 Media Planner. But the headline begs the questions: Who is in this market? How big is it? What quantities and types of organics are being recycled? How many people does this market employ?

BioCycle industry data collected in 2013-2014 identified over 5,000 composting operations in the U.S. — 70 percent compost yard trimmings, 17 percent compost food waste and other organics, 5 percent compost biosolids, and 8 percent fall into a miscellaneous category. On the anaerobic digestion side, the American Biogas Council, U.S. EPA AgSTAR and the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation are tracking AD facilities in the U.S. Recent data identify 150 Water Resource Recovery Facilities that are codigesting high strength organics such as food waste with biosolids, and 242 farm digesters, many of which accept off-farm organic waste streams.

To track activity real-time in the organics recycling sector, BioCycle upgraded its FindAComposter.com® platform, and added two new portals — Find-ADigester.com and FindOrganics-Hauler.com — in 2016. On a practical level, these portals can be used to locate facilities to process organic waste streams, or to buy compost and digestate. On an industry level, these BioCycle Portals are designed to help answer the questions posed above about the organics recycling sector. The data entry forms request information on feedstocks accepted and quantities processed, amount of compost and digestate produced, number of people employed, etc. It asks if collection services and composting and AD facilities accept certified compostable bioplastics and paper products.

Much of the data gathered will only be reported by BioCycle in the aggregate in industry reports. The BioCycle Community — in print, on line and in person at BioCycle Conferences — will benefit from our industry tracking and reports. And visitors to BioCycle’s FindAComposter.com, FindADigester.com and FindOrganicsHauler.com are able to do just that — FIND processors, collection services and high value soil and biogas products.

Now the challenge is to populate the BioCycle Portals. To track our industry, we need the data. Full-scale, captive and community composters, anaerobic digester operators and organics haulers — please take 10 minutes to create a listing in the BioCycle Portals. The questions are designed to be easily answered (and if there is a snag, email us at organics@findacomposter.com).

We invite collaboration from industry associations, nonprofit advocates, government agencies and others to assist BioCycle in populating FindAComposter.com, FindADigester.com and FindOrganicsHauler.com. Together, we will document that organics recycling is a Market of Opportunity — from small-scale community operations to industrial-scale facilities.

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