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

Armed With A Mind Armed With A Mind armedwithamind at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 22 23:22:07 EST 2009

I feel your pain. My employer sent me to the dump to get rid of roof shingles and I was appauled at the amount of organic matter and other useful materials that was piled up. I went and asked one of the dump attendees if I could come back and take leaves and such but she said no, that it was not allowed. 


One factor to consider with municipal scale composting systems is the contamination. In the city of Toronto they apparently used to have a composting system, and residents were free to come pick up finished product for free. The compost was tested and was found to be contaminated and unsafe for use in food gardens. I'm not saying that this should stop such programs but it is something that most do not think about and some extra step should be put in place to remove the contaminants if testing shows it to be present. 


> Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 18:30:17 -0500
> From: lflj at bellsouth.net
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: [permaculture] [Fwd: [SANET-MG] Convert landfills to compost!]
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: [SANET-MG] Convert landfills to compost!
> Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 05:57:35 -0500
> From: mensplace <mensplace at BELLSOUTH.NET>
> 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.
> <>
> 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!
> <>
> 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?).
> <>
> 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.
> <>
> 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).
> <>
> 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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