Letter: Thoughts on city composting
Composting is far and away the most cost effective, comprehensive and environmentally sound means of waste reduction. It is also much more than just waste reduction. It is one of the most fundamental cornerstones to sustainability.
Well over half of our wastes consist of organic matter allowing composting to provide several times more waste reduction than does conventional recycling. Due to the depleted state of our soils nationwide, any significant departure from Monsanto-driven, chemically based agrobusiness depends upon first rebuilding our soil organic matter.
Until we have healthy, nutrient cycling soils, we cannot feed our nation without our addiction to chemicals and fossil fuels. Most of our organic matter and nitrogen are contained in our municipal waste and sewage. Large-scale composting of our organic waste stream provides the soil organic matter to make sustainable agriculture possible. Compost is the substrate feeding the roots of sustainability.
The city of Glenwood Springs is talking about dropping their compost operation due to their financial losses. They need to be reminded that before they decided to terminate their contract with Cacaloco Compost in 2009, they were making pretty good money. The contract was very simple. Cacaloco paid them 10 percent of gross revenues for the use of a couple of acres adjacent to their landfill that was developed, permitted and constructed at Cacaloco’s expense with no cost to the city. The last year before the city canceled the contract they received $130,000 in annual rent and had almost a third of their waste stream diverted and marketed for beneficial use.
Pitkin County’s current compost operation and Cacaloco’s past operations prove that composting is an environmentally sound and potentially profitable practice that can be conducted either “in house” or through contract services.
Composting allows local processing of a valuable product for local markets creating local jobs. It is one of the most environmentally effective programs possible on a local level.
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