[permaculture] [Fwd: [SANET-MG] Convert landfills to compost!]

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at bellsouth.net
Tue Dec 22 18:30:17 EST 2009


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] Convert landfills to compost!
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 05:57:35 -0500
From: mensplace <mensplace at BELLSOUTH.NET>
To: SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU

Every time I drive by a landfill and see their blazing stacks with eternal
flames burning methane, it makes me furious, especially when I know how
landfills are constructed and about the tons of toxic waste in barrels that
get buried on the bottom during the early stages. It's bad enough that the
runoff goes straight into the water table, and thence into lakes and rivers.
Our own local lake is so full of heavy metal that one is warned NOT to eat
the fish...and that water goes straight into the rivers. Even the
Chattahoochee south of Atlanta gets constantly pumped full of every kind of
industrial and municipal waste. I digress...again.

Meanwhile, groceries, and organic waste contributors, gins, mills, lumber
processors, paper mills, and MANY other creators of perfectly good organic
material continue to send material to landfills daily.

Went by several groceries today seeking green waste, i.e., trimmings, out of
date fruits and vegetables, etc.. NO...corporate policy forbids giving it to
anyone even for compost, so it goes into the dump. It would be interesting
to list how many food processors, restaurants, and corporations of every
size have the same policy. Ingles, Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart...NO, it has to
go to the dump.

Cities and counties do well here because they receive tipping fees. Went to
the county and city for leaves, NO it goes to the dump. Imagine, across our
country how much green and brown material goes to the dump every single
day...I mean mega millions of pounds... the mountains grow and the methane
keeps getting burned.

Imagine how much compost we could make if some of them would rethink the
stupidity and waste of such policies. With all the BS I read every day about
corporate commitments to sound environmental policies, WHY do we even have
landfills today?

Time for me to start a program to flood those grocery and food chains, maybe
even those other contributors to the waste stream..those whose byproducts
would be perfect for IMPROVING our soils and environment. I did write to
Ingles and Anheuser Busch. Care to join me and maybe even spread the word.
At least our local county ag agent thought it was a great idea. Funny thing
is, you go to the local dumpster site and they have composting systems on
display, but ask the county or city for leaves...NO, it goes to the dump.
This place is surrounded by poultry, pork, and chicken producers and that's
a LOT of perfect material. Then come the feed mills, cotton gins,
flourmills, paper mills where they burn the compost. JUST IMAGINE what all
of that, if composted, could do for our soils and gardens.

Actually, I am serious, WHY can't we reclaim some of this? Let's flood those
corporate Presidents and see if ways and means can't be developed to
actually be allowed to use some of their waste!

Feedback:
---------

They do it so that they don't get sued down the road--or even down the street. Just imagine what a field day some lawyer 
would have if someone ate something that had been given away for compost and got sick or died. Try reining in the lawyers.
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What a shame that litigious attitude has been exported to the rest of the
world, where it hampers innovation and, ultimately, will cause our mutual
demise.  It is intensely frustrating to see quite clearly where this will
all end up, but to also realise that commonsense has little chance of
prevailing in the face of money and unethical laws.

Mankind's ability to place myth ahead of logic may have served society well
in the distant past when neighbourhood battles were the issue and jingoism
was the answer.  Are we capable, in the face of global catastrophe, of
embracing logic and science ahead of self interest?  At an individual level
I believe we are.  At a national level, considering the mindset that compels
a person to become a politician, I think not.  All this makes old age and
death both easier - and harder - to face!
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I've heard that kind of argument so many times, and I'm wondering if it has ever happened. Also, if something had been 
given away *as compost,* I imagine a good lawyer would argue that it was not given away as *food* and was not meant to 
be eaten. Also look at the hordes of corporate lawyers (and their endless resources) vs. the resources of the people who 
would be repurposing the compostables, and the way that corporate lawyers often drag out cases to exhaust the resources 
of their opponents.

In addition, release-of-liability waivers are common in school and community programs, and any company that was 
motivated to recycle food waste could donate to the appropriate place and have the recipients sign waivers. I'd expect 
independently owned groceries and restaurants to exercise more common sense and either donate or allow foraging.

Some communities are collecting and composting food waste (including San Francisco).

Remember when we were all told it was not practical to recycle? It was less than 20 years ago that the first community 
curbside recycling program (I know of) started that collected multiple materials (I'm thinking of the one in a NJ town 
-- perhaps some other place started before that?).
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We need to do more to encourage recycling and composting to help reduce the waste stream. We need to get away from the 
throw-away mentality. We need to look at waste as a resource to be reused for human benefit. Landfills are a biological 
time bomb. They reflect the wastefulness of society.
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In Ithaca, NY we have a local composting enterprise that composts local food waste & compostable food service materials 
(www.ithaca.com/main.asp?SectionID=16&SubSectionID=84&ArticleID=8736&TM=73892.19).

I don't know all the details, but I have been told that the Tompkins County Solid Waste Management Division through its 
ReBusiness program (www.recycletompkins.org/editorstree/view/2) both provides waste management assessments to local 
waste generators and, once assessed, a business/organization gets reduced fees on the pick-up of food waste by Cayuga 
Compost.

Cornell University Dining also has its own composting program for dining hall food waste 
(http://eponline.com/Articles/2009/06/16/Cornell-Manages-Half-its-Food-Waste-into-Highquality-Compost.aspx).
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In VT, the Highfields Center for Composting (www.highfieldscomposting.org) has created the "Close the Loop" program to 
recycle local food waste, among other great compost projects.
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