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No More Food Waste

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Converted Organics

Courtesy Converted Organics

Converted Organics fertilizers contain no synthetic materials.

As of early 2010, Converted Organics could process 110 tons of food waste per week at its facility, which is a big step in keeping greenhouse-gas-making waste out of city landfills. But with its permit to dispose of 500 tons of food waste per day, the company has the ability to do much more.

“We’re bringing in some additional contamination removal equipment — in other words, a fancy way to remove plastic bags, tin cans and other trash,” Bayless says. Contaminants such as glass, metal, plastic and wood pose the biggest threats to the liquid compost. The contamination-removal technology will up their weekly food-waste capacity to 175 tons.

The company also laid out the plans for digesters that will process 250 tons of food waste per day, which Bayless says they hope to get running by 2012.

According to Converted Organics, co-founder Bill Gildea, its been interesting to see how the business has grown since 2000, when he first started investigating alternative ways to dispose of food waste at the South Bronx’s Hunts Point Cooperative Market.

“I think there’s a lot of enthusiasm and support for the business because it involves clean technology,” Gildea says. “Intuitively, people understand that there are (positives) in this kind of business, in getting waste out of landfills.”

In March 2010, Converted Organics took steps in expanding the breadth of their waste disposal when it partnered with New Jersey school systems to process food waste coming out of school cafeterias and dining halls.

“Educational institutions — from elementary schools through colleges — have become extremely environmentally conscious,” says Jack Walsdorf, vice president of waste management. “They recognize that sending their food waste to Converted Organics not only makes good environmental sense because it reduces greenhouse-gas emissions associated with landfill deposits, but it also makes good financial sense.”

Walsdorf says it costs school systems less to have their food waste hauled to the Converted Organics facility than to the local landfill. Could this also be true for residential communities?

“We’d love to get into residential waste,” says Walsdorf, though it was not possible for the company at the time this article was written. “Residential waste is just not clean enough for us to handle. If there are a lot of contaminants in the waste stream, it doesn’t work well with our processes.”

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Good to know
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 12/8/2012 9:42:44 AM

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