Yard Trimmings .. 4

Food Scraps .... 6
Innovations ... 11
                       RECOVERING ORG,
                       WASTES—GIVING BACK
                           MOTHER  NATURE
Preserving Resources,
 Preventing Waste
                                1 Printed on paper that contains at least 30 percent postconsumer fiber.

   Waste Wise Update
 Recovering  Organic  Wastes

           Every day, Americans fill their trash bins with grass clippings, coffee grounds, and many other types of
           organic wastes.  Organic materials—e.g., paper, wood, yard trimmings, food scraps—constitute 67per-
           cent of the weight of America's municipal solid waste (MSW) stream, or more than 140 million tons in
           1996. A significant portion of these materials,  including newspaper, office paper, and corrugated card-
           board,  are recovered through reuse or recycling. Yard trimmings and food scraps, however, which account
for 25 percent of MSW, or 50 million tons per year, are often not recovered. As a WasteWise partner, you can take the
 lead in giving your organic wastes back to the Earth.
   Composting  Methods
   Composting takes many shapes and forms and varies
   as much in its complexity as in the range of organic
   materials recovered. The four most standard com-
   posting methods are:
   Static Pile Composting
   Organic waste is piled and mixed together.
   Composting under these conditions is slow and suited
   for small operations. This method requires 1 2 to 18
   inches of loosely piled bulking agents such that air
   blows from the bottom to the top of the pile.
   Aerated Windrow/Pile Composting
   Organic waste is formed into rows of long piles
   (windrows) and aerated either by embedding pipes in
   the pile or by turning the pile periodically. This method
   can accommodate large volumes of waste, including
   animal  products or grease, but only with frequent turn-
   ing and careful monitoring during the thermophilic stage
   (when the pile reaches 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit).
   In-vessel Composting
   Organic materials are stored in enclosed equipment
   with controlled temperature, moisture, and aeration.
   This type of system can process large quantities of
   waste with fewer odor problems in a small area and
   can accommodate animal products.
   Worms break down organic materials into high-valu
   compost called castings. Vermicomposting bins can
   function indoors  or outdoors, but cannot process
   animal products  or grease.
   For more comprehensive details on composting meth-
   ods, processes, and technologies, see Composting
   Yard Trimmings and Municipal Solid Waste and
   Compost: New Applications for an Age-Old
   Technology in the Resouces section.
  In 1997, WasteWise partners reported recovering more
than 300,000 tons of food scraps and yard trimmings.
Taking advantage of the reduction potential of organic
waste, partners have achieved significant cost savings and
environmental benefits. Some partners have targeted yard
trimmings, others have focused on food scraps, while still
others have found unique ways to divert less common
organic wastes. Most organizations close the recycling loop
by using or selling the products  resulting from their waste
reduction, including compost, mulch, and wood chips.
This issue of the Update highlights a number of organic
waste diversion and recovery options implemented by
WasteWise partners.
Yard Trimmings: Worth Weeding Out
• Grasscycling. By simply leaving grass clippings on the
  lawn after cutting, rather than bagging them, Kalamazoo
  County, Michigan, reduced staff hours for grounds-
  keeping and saved a bundle.
• Mulching and chipping. For more than a decade, Eastern
  Illinois University has provided its own soil amendments
  for landscaping by chipping and mulching its yard waste
  on campus.
• Composting. For organizations that have waste streams
  with substantial quantities of both carbon- and
  nitrogen-rich material, composting might be the best
  option. Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., composts
  thousands of tons of agricultural byproducts, beechwood
  chips,  yard trimmings, and animal stable waste every year.
  Anheuser-Busch then reuses the finished compost for
  landscaping projects.
Food Scraps: Feed the Earth
• Donation. One of the easiest ways for an organization to
  divert  its organic waste stream  is to give away its
  food or food scraps to food banks, shelters,
  orphanages, or other charitable groups.

                                                                                                     WasteWise Update
                                                                Innovative Approaches and Unusual Materials
                                                                   Recent studies have shown that compost can help pre-
                                                                vent environmental problems in ways beyond its well-
                                                                known use as a soil amendment. Putting these findings into
                                                                action, King County, Washington, recently investigated
                                                                using compost to help restore salmon populations. In addi-
                                                                tion, organizations that find themselves with compostable
                                                                waste streams less typical than yard trimmings and food
                                                                scraps would do well to follow the example of Johnston
                                                                Industries' successful  and highly profitable windrow com-
                                                                posting operation for cotton fiber.
DaimlerChrysler Corporation has found that its charitable
donation of nearly 150 tons of food each year pays off in
annual cost savings of more than $5,000. Some organiza-
tions, like Stonyfield Farm Yogurt, donate food waste for
use as animal feed.

Composting. Onsite food composting operations, such as
the windrow systems at the Tennessee Department of
Correction, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Reservation, and UTC Carrier Corporation, have proven
highly effective in diverting large volumes of food waste.

Vermicomposting. A less conventional tactic is to feed
food scraps to worms. Sligo Adventist School recovered
500 pounds of cafeteria food waste in 1998 with its
vermicomposting program.
     Breaking  Down  the  Composting   Process
     Composting, in nature or in backyards, is defined as the controlled decomposition of organic material. Municipal and commercial com-
     posting is defined as the thermophilic (heat-based) decomposition of organic material by microorganisms. In either case, composting is
     both a science and a  balancing act. You have to find the right mix of inputs to allow microorganisms within the pile to decompose mat-
     ter into compost containing the proper nutrient and moisture content. The following diagram describes some of the major inputs and
     outputs of the basic composting process.
        Organic Matter
The first step is to find the proper balance
of carbon and nitrogen by mixing various
amounts of 'green' and 'brown' organic
feedstock into a pile. Greens, which
include food scraps and grass clippings,
are high in nitrogen. Browns, which
include leaves, wood chips, and sawdust,
are high in carbon. For most methods,
adding animal products or grease into
the pile is not recommended.
                           Micro- and Macreerganisms
                           Once you've created a composting
                           pile by mixing layers of greens and
                           browns, naturally occurring microor-
                           ganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi), and
                           macroorganisms (e.g., beetles and
                           earthworms) start consuming and
                           breaking down the organic matter.
A smell emanating from the com-
post pile means the microorganisms
are not getting enough oxygen. To
deal with odor problems, adjust the
inputs, especially oxygen.
              Moisture, which is inherent in organic
              materials, makes nutrients available to
              the microorganisms. If a pile is too wet,
              however, nutrients leach out and become
              inaccessible to the organisms. Adding
              sawdust or paper can help reduce the
              moisture content of the pile.
                                            Microorganisms require oxygen in order to
                                            consume and break down the organic mat-
                                            ter, which is why compost piles are turned
                                            frequently. Another way to allow oxygen to
                                            flow through the pile is by adding materials
                                            of larger particle size, such as wood chips,
                                            which would result in a pile with more pores
                                            through which oxygen can enter. Larger par-
                                            ticle sizes, however, reduce the surface area
                                            with which the organisms can work.
           Microorganisms generate heat as they
           consume and break down the organic
           matter. The ideal temperature for a pile
           ranges from 90 to 140 degrees
           Fahrenheit. The heat kills many of the
           pathogens and weed seeds that might be
           in the compost pile. As the composting
           process nears completion and the micro-
           bial activity slows down, the temperature
           drops and the compost begins to mature.
           To produce mature compost, a curing of
           1  to 4 months is required.
                                                                                                      The final product is compost,
                                                                                                      which is dark, crumbly, and
                                                                                                         has an earthy odor.

   Waste Wise Upd
          Yird trimmings—including grass, leaves,
          md tree and brush trimmings—account-
          'dfor nearly 28  million tons of waste
generation in 1996. Activities such as grass-
cycling, mulching, and composting can help
divert these  materials from the waste stream. In
fact, 14 million tons of the national organic
waste stream is grass, which could be completely
diverted through grasscycling.

Kalamazoo County  Cuts Waste
While Cutting Grass
      Looking for an easy way to save time and money while
      reducing waste? Then stop bagging those grass clip-
      pings! By making the simple switch to grasscycling in
1993, WasteWise partner Kalamazoo County, Michigan,
realizes savings of approximately $5,000 per year and recov-
ers 140 hours of staff time per week during the growing sea-
son. "Eliminating bags of grass clippings helped the county
save money by downsizing trash dumpsters and ordering less
frequent trash pickup," according to Steve Leuty, Kalamazoo
County's recycling coordinator.
   To serve as a community role model, Kalamazoo County
adopted a waste reduction policy in 1991, committing the
county to minimizing landfill disposal of yard waste. Two
years later, the state of Michigan passed a law prohibiting
landfilling of yard waste generated on government property.
Motivated both by state law and its own goals, therefore,
Kalamazoo studied reports on turf management and deter-
    ed that grasscycling would require less effort than other
 ptions such as composting. The potential benefits of grass-
cycling, including reductions in lawn watering, fertilizer appli-
cation, and labor demand, convinced the county to make the
switch on its 51 mowed acres of county parks and lawns.
   According to Leuty, "Making the switch to grasscycling was
easy. Since any mulching mower can grasscycle, we simply con-
verted older conventional mowers by removing the bags." The
county provided lawn mower operators with brief instructions
including when to mow and what height to leave the grass.
Instead of spending time removing and emptying full bags of
grass clippings, groundskeepers can now focus on other tasks
and let nature  do its work. Grass clippings left on the turf filter
down between blades of grass and decompose, returning vital
nutrients to the soil while maintaining soil moisture and mod-
erating temperature extremes.
Overcoming Mulching Mower Misconceptions
   Although Kalamazoo  County required  only minor opera-
tional changes to accommodate its grasscycling program, it
did need to overcome the general  misconception that
mulching mowers would litter clippings on downtown side-
walks  and dampen the appearance of the county's grounds.
The county found, however, that following a few basic rules
of thumb, such as mowing grass when it is dry to prevent
clippings from sticking to walkways, helped ensure success.
Once  management and employees were informed of the ben-
efits of grasscycling, such as reduced costs, reduced mowing
time, and improved turf health, any initial resistance turned
into support. Next, Kalamazoo plans to reduce mowing
needs  and enhance property aesthetics by increasing the use
of low-water, low-maintenance native plantings, a practice
known as "xeriscaping."
   For more information about Kalamazoo County's grass-
cycling program, contact Steve Leuty at 616  384-8110 or
via e-mail at .
   Grasscycling Tips:
   • Mow when grass is dry and keep mower blades sharp.
   • Mow more frequently—mowing time will be 40 percent
     less, on average.
   • Never remove more than one-third of the grass height.
   • Keep most varieties of grass at least 3 inches high to help
     control weeds and reduce water demand and plant stress.
     (Source: Maryland Department of Public Works and

                                                                                              WasteWise Update
Mulch  Doesn't Fall  Far From the       Composting Advice From
Tree At  Eastern  Illinois University    Anheuser-Busch
      Eastern Illinois University's (EIU's) campus has a famil-
      iar feeling from the ground up: the mulch that covers
      the landscaped flowerbeds and trees is made from rem-
nants of the trees' own limbs and leaves. While keeping its
trees healthy, EIU's onsite mulching program also diverts
12.5 tons of yard trimmings and 82 tons of wood waste
annually. The program also saves the university the expense
of purchasing mulch from an outside source.
A Process for All Seasons
   "The university decided to start
onsite mulching and composting
because it was expedient," explains
Jon Collins, EIU's superintendent of
grounds. When the program began,
EIU had excess land to store com-
posted leaves, and it made sense to
start using the mulch and soil mix-
ture in the university's greenhouse.
From there, the program expanded to
include landscaping for the entire cam-
pus. According to Allan Rathe, EIU's recy-
cling coordinator, the onsite composting and
mulching program is simple to operate. As the
trees shed their leaves, EIU's grounds crew rakes and
grinds them up with other yard trimmings using a mulching
mower. The crew tills some of the newly created mulch into
the flowerbeds to help prevent erosion over the winter. The
rest is taken to an out-of-sight spot on the campus grounds,
where it is stockpiled for composting. In the spring, once
the leaves have decomposed, the compost is spread in the
flowerbeds as a soil amendment. Tree branches stay even
closer to their origins: EIU chips them up and spreads the
chips around the trees' bases. EIU cuts the larger, unchip-
pable sections of dead trees into logs for sale as  firewood and
uses the profits to purchase and plant new trees.
   One factor other organizations planning this  type of pro-
gram should keep in mind is that mulched yard waste is
somewhat unsightly while it composts throughout the winter
and early spring. Prior to initiating a program, Rathe advises
facilities to find an out-of-the-way place where employees,
students, faculty,  and visitors will not see the pile.
   While Rathe and Collins cannot estimate exactly how
much money EIU has saved with  the program,  they do
believe it is a clear winner. "It has been a successfully operat-
ing program for more than 16 years," Rathe says proudly.
He credits simplicity and common sense as the  main reasons
it has lasted so long. To learn more about EIU's onsite
mulching program, contact Allan  Rathe at 217 581-6038 or
via e-mail at .
In 1998, Anheuser-Busch composted:
• 291,000 tons of agricultural
• 7,000 tons of beechwood chips
• 2,350 tons of animal stable waste
• 2,300 tons of yard waste
          hen senior management at WasteWise partner
          Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., challenged its
          breweries to reduce their impact on the environ-
ment, the breweries began by forming teams and examining
waste streams. This led to the composting of the beechwood
           chips used in the brewing process—7,000 tons
           of which were composted in 1998. Beechwood
         chip composting was a difficult process, but the
             breweries eventually overcame logistical obsta-
                cles such as handling, storage, and pro-
                  tecting the chips against contaminants.
                     Reducing environmental impacts
                   was not the only benefit the company
                   considered when it decided to start
                   composting beechwood chips.  "We're a
                   business that believes in protecting the
                   environment, but we're also a business
                 that must ensure that our activities—
               including environmental initiatives—are
            cost effective," explains Bert Share, pollution
         prevention manager at Anheuser-Busch's corporate
     headquarters. The company's composting activities,
  for instance, help reduce waste disposal costs and the need
to purchase fertilizers. In total, Anheuser-Busch's solid waste
management program, including composting activities, has
saved the company more than $13 million since 1991 and
at least $2.5 million in 1998 alone.
  Whether it's beechwood chips from its breweries, yard
and animal stable waste from its theme  parks, or agricultural
byproducts from its rice and malting operation, Anheuser-
Busch has experience with the recovery  of organic materials.
If your organization is considering composting, Share offers
these general guidelines:
• Start easy and be patient. Before you investigate com-
  posting options, master simple programs, such as  recy-
  cling, that guarantee success and build credibility with
  management. Once you have companywide goals, it still
  takes time to figure out the program  logistics, so work on
  manageable pieces and take one step  at a time. Wait to
  implement the more challenging activities that involve
  complicated manufacturing processes. While your organi-
  zation  might experience higher  returns, it also encounters
  a much greater challenge and risk of failure.
• Measure outcomes. The success of your program  depends
  on being able to measure the amount of waste reduced
  and the dollars saved due to environmental activities.
  For more information on Anheuser Busch's composting
activities, contact Bert Share at 314 984-4564 or via e-mail
at .

  Waste Wise Update
Food  Scraps:   Feed The   Earth
             Food scraps accounted for nearly 22 million tons of waste genera-
             tion in 1996. Activities such as donation, composting, and ren-
             dering can help divert these materials from the waste stream.
             In addition to the WasteWise partners featured in this Update,
             EPA has developed case studies on food scrap recovery programs
(see Don't Throw Away That Food: Strategies for Record Setting Waste
Reduction in the Resources section).
DaimlerChrysler Helps Drive
Out Hunger
     Food waste recovery can be both easy and rewarding.
     Just ask WasteWise partner DaimlerChrysler
     Corporation who donated nearly 150 tons of surplus
food in 1998 through Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit orga-
nization that collects and distributes donated food to shel-
ters and soup kitchens in the metropolitan Detroit,
Michigan, area. According to DaimlerChrylser pollution
prevention specialist Doug Orf, "All it took was a desire to
reduce waste, some extra space in the refrigerator, and one
phone call to locate the  nearest donation program."
Through this donation program, DaimlerChrysler saved
more than $5,000 in avoided disposal costs in  1998.

Partnering Makes it Easy
  At DaimlerChrysler's headquarters, sources  of leftover
food include five cafeterias. It's difficult to anticipate how
many of DaimlerChrysler's 11,000 employees  will use the
              To find a food donation
             program near you, or for
            liability information, contact:
             Foodchain at 800 845-3008
      or visit its Web site at .
           Second Harvest at 312 263-2303
               or visit its Web site at
            To find out about events and
        programs that fight hunger, contact:
         Share Our Strength at 800 969-4767
               or visit its Web site at
cafeterias each day, so
DaimlerChrysler's food sup-
pliers prepare food for 8,000
employees each day. This process
often results in leftover food; there-
fore, DaimlerChrysler sought an
outlet for the unsold prepared food. It
found a helping hand by calling
Foodchain, a national food-rescue network
comprised of 140 food donation programs
throughout the country. Foodchain connected
DaimlerChrysler with the local organization Forgotten
Harvest, and this partnership made donating surplus food
simple and affordable. According to Orf, "Not only does
Forgotten Harvest pick up our surplus food when there are at
least 40 servings, which is usually once a week—there are no
pickup fees involved! All we have to do is keep the prepared
food refrigerated, which is not a problem since we have ade-
quate refrigerator space."
  Forgotten Harvest even provided training for Daimler-
Chrysler's  food suppliers on the purpose and benefits of the
donation program. The suppliers were initially concerned
with liability issues; however, Forgotten Harvest assured
them that donors who prepare and store food in good faith
are protected from civil and criminal liability by the Federal
Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. With that knowledge,
the food suppliers quickly supported the program. Now
DaimlerChrysler's food suppliers even box the surplus food
for donation.
  Orf strongly encourages other organizations to pursue food
donation programs, and adds, "Partnering with a food dona-
tion program is a great opportunity that  benefits the environ-
ment and saves a valued resource needed by others." The
ongoing success of the program inspired  the CEO, of then
Chrysler Corporation, to produce a video on it. For more
information on DaimlerChrysler's food donation program,
contact Doug Orf at 248 576-736lor via e-mail at

                                                                                               WasteWise Update
Pigs Diet on Stonyfield Farm's
Excess Yogurt
           Ever wonder what flavor of yogurt pigs prefer?
           Turns out they're not particular at all. In 1998,
           Stonyfield Farm Yogurt donated more than 200
       tons of excess yogurt—in a variety of flavors—to hog
             farmers in New Hampshire. Excess or inedible
               yogurt is left over from the company's strin-
                 gent quality control testing process and
                  from products with expired code dates.
                  According to Nancy Hirshberg, director
                  of natural resources at Stonyfield Farm,
                  "Stonyfield Farm's motivation for initiat-
                  ing the program was  twofold—it sup-
                 ports local farmers and reduces costs
                associated with the disposal of waste prod-
               ucts." Stonyfield Farm also donated more
               than 100 tons of edible but unsaleable prod-
             uct to food banks and nonprofit organizations
           in the community.
           Hirshberg credits Stonyfield Farm's successful
      donation program to its dedicated investment of
     time and labor. According to Hirshberg, "Directing
   staff time to waste prevention really pays off even for
small companies." In fact,  the combined programs saved
Stonyfield Farm and its 150 employees more than $20,000
in avoided disposal costs in 1998.

   To get the program up and running, employees net-
worked extensively with farmers in the community, desig-
nated storage space, set up  a waste tracking system,
developed a method for contacting the farmers, and learned
how to prepare donated materials. Stonyfield Farm is build-
ing a farmer database to track the 10 or so farmers who pick
up yogurt on a routine basis as well as the farmers who pick
up less regularly. To make the donation program less  labor
intensive, Stonyfield Farm also is planning a new process to
transfer yogurt from the production area to a storage trailer
where farmers can pick up  and load  the yogurt themselves.

   Stonyfield Farm's employees get an additional perk from
the donation program. In exchange for the company's
yogurt, farmers sometimes  bring farm fresh ham and bacon
for the employees to show their appreciation. For more
information about Stonyfield Farm's donation program, con-
tact the WasteWise Helpline at 800 EPA-WISE (372-9473).
Cherokees Hit the  Jackpot with

Casino Food Waste  Composting
      Looking for advice on how to start a food composting
      program? "Quit talking about it and do it," recom-
      mends Calvin Murphy, executive director of tribal
utilities for WasteWise partner the Eastern Band of
Cherokee Indians. What began as a pilot composting pro-
gram for the Tribe has grown into a successful full-scale
composting operation. So successful, in fact, that nurseries,
landscapers,  and individual homeowners that want to pur-
chase the Tribe's compost are placed on a waiting list. The
Tribe also has enjoyed significant cost savings from avoided
tipping fees and landfill disposal charges.
   Despite the economic benefits, cost savings weren't the
Tribe's main motivations for implementing the pilot  com-
posting program. Located near the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park in Cherokee, North Carolina, the Eastern
Band of Cherokee Indian reservation attracts 5 million
tourists each year. Its  casino  alone draws  1 million visitors.
The casino's opening  in 1997, along with the closure of the
reservation's  MSW landfill, prompted the Tribe to explore
composting as a method of diverting its food waste. The
Tribe collects an average of 20 tons of food waste each
month from the casino's steakhouse, fast food restaurant,
and open food market.
   According to Murphy, one key factor contributing to the
success of the pilot program has been the integration of the
composting process into employee training and routine pro-
cedures at the casino. The Tribe hired an additional employ-
ee to handle some of the composting responsibilities. Each
morning, the collection containers are loaded onto a  truck at
the casino and transported to the  reservation's composting
site, located  at the reservation's closed landfill. The contain-
ers are emptied, washed, and returned to the casino. The
food waste is added to a composting windrow, which ranges
in length from 50 to  125 feet and is approximately 8-feet
wide and 5-feet high. After the compost meets temperature,
turning, and processing time guidelines, it is transferred to a
covered storage curing area for drying and screening.
   While the Tribe experienced no problems with procedural
changes, it did have initial problems with odor. The Tribe
found, however, that turning the composting pile every day
allows the pile to aerate properly and alleviates any foul odors.
The Tribe's composting program has  been so successful that, if
odors continue to be effectively controlled, it plans to  expand
its composting activities and  collect food waste from the  other
restaurants on the reservation. Three  restaurants have already
expressed strong interest in participating in the program.
   For more information, contact Calvin Murphy at
828 497-6977 or John D. Long, sanitation recycling
manager, at 828 497-3908.

   Waste Wise Update
 Tennessee  Correctional  Facility  Arrests  Organic Waste
     Iacing state waste reduction mandates, skyrocketing
     disposal costs, and a challenge from the governor^
     reduce its solid waste by 75 percent, the Brushy
Mountain Correctional Complex/Morgan County
Regional Site in Wartburg, Tennessee, responded by
reassessing its waste management practices. By aiming
common sense and trial and error at their ample food
wastes, the facility exceeded the state's waste  reduction tar-
gets and thwarted a potential $17,000 hike in annual dis-
posal costs through onsite composting. The facility now
serves as a model for institutions throughout the state.
Along with various recycling activities, composting has
helped push  the  facility's waste diversion rate as  high as 77
percent—with more than 500 tons of food waste compost-
ed each year!
1     ?
  For years, the correctional facility disposed of its waste at
an onsite county landfill for a mere $0.85 per ton. As the
landfill began to reach its capacity in the early 1990s, the
correctional facility faced $40 per ton disposal fees at an
alternate landfill—a cost too steep for WasteWise partner
Tennessee Department of Correction (TNDOC) to accept.
Facility officials examined their waste stream and determined
that the best option for waste recovery—and for reducing the
burden on the county landfill—lay in composting the facili-
ty's organic waste. They found that with more than 1,500
inmates eating three meals a day, 60 percent of the facility's
waste stream consisted entirely of food residuals. Since then,
the facility's composting operation has become so successful
that it attracts facility managers from across Tennessee—and
other states—to learn how to compost at their own facilities.
   How the   Prison  Composts  Organic Waste
moisture, and odor
are monitored care-
fully, and the pile is
adjusted accordingly.
                     After 4 to 5 months, the
                     result is a fresh compost
                     that is ready to be applied.
                     Once a year, the compost
                     is tested for heavy metal
                     and bacterial content.
                                              Inmates and kitchen staff
                                              separate nonmeat and
                                              nongrease food waste
                                              and scraps into
                                              33-gallon containers.
                          Each day, the
                          containers are
                          collected and
                          trucked to the
                          composting site.
                           The windrow is pushed into a
                           static pile for 30 days then
                           turned twice every 3 months.
                                                           A layer of straw or mature com-
                                                           post is placed on top to contain
                                                           odors and to keep out pests.
                                        Material is added to
                                        windrows, by dragging
                                        the bottom of the con-
                                        tainer along the top of
                                        the windrow to create a
                                        depression, into which
                                        the staff directly deposits
                                        the food residuals and a
                                        small portion of its farm's
                                        cattle manure.

                                                                                                WasteWise Update
Selecting the Right Method
   Facility unit manager Bob Walls shares some simple
advice with those who want to start a composting operation,
"It requires nothing more than a basic understanding of the
composting process and some experience through trial and
error." Walls learned the basics of composting from a bin he
set up in his own backyard. He got additional help in the
planning stages of the facility's operation from local universi-
ty professors. The professors visited the facility and recom-
mended constructing 10- by 10-foot aerated bins and
alternating layers of sawdust, food waste, and cattle manure.

   After a few trials with the bins,  however, facility officials
realized air was not circulating properly, causing the pile to
rot, or decay without the presence of oxygen. To address this
problem, the facility redesigned the piles into 4- by 100-foot
windrows. The windrow method worked; however, it
required mechanical turners and chippers. Facility officials
drafted a proposal to the state, which lends out  equipment
such as chippers and turners  to government institutions.
The state accepted  the proposal. Armed with a tractor, a
turner, an industrial chipper, and plenty of inmate labor, the
facility launched its composting  operation (see page 8). The
finished process yields a dark compost that is applied as a
soil amendment on the facility grounds, which include a
fully operational farm.

The Benefits
   Besides reduced  disposal costs, Walls noted several other
benefits of the facility's composting operation:

•  Improves soil. The compost helps soil retain  moisture and

•  Prevents fertilizer runoff.  Using compost releases nutri-
   ents slowly into  the soil and helps  soil hold water better
   so that close to 100 percent of the fertilizer is used instead
   of a portion of it being washed away. This reduces the
   amount of fertilizer TNDOC must purchase.

•  Reduces costs for the community.  The facility helps
   reduce disposal costs for the county and other institutions.
   It accepts food residuals from a nursing home  and occa-
   sionally the county will haul in yard waste, which is sent
   through the industrial chipper and  placed on the windrows
   to help aerate the pile and provide a source of carbon.

   Walls maintains  that a good way for partners to learn
about composting is simply to talk with someone who has
done  it before. Correctional facilities across Tennessee have
done just that, and eight other facilities now run compost-
ing operations of their own thanks to TNDOC's help. If
you'd like to learn more about Morgan County  Regional
Correctional Facility's  composting operation, contact Bob
Walls at 423 346-6641.
Worming Through Waste  at

Sligo Adventist
      For some worms, an apple a day just isn't enough. In
      fact, students at WasteWise partner Sligo Adventist
      School in Takoma Park, Maryland, find that the red-
worms they use in their compost bin will eat just about any
food material from the cafeteria except meat. What started
as two students' vermicomposting science fair  project 4
years ago has turned into an entire school affair. At peak
production, Sligo's worms turn more than 1,000 pounds of
food waste  a year into vermicompost. More importantly,
though, the project offers a great educational experience for
the students.
  Vermicomposting is a fairly easy project to implement
explains Ken Gair, Sligo's plant manager and supervisor of
the project, "All you need is a bin, bedding, worms, and
food waste." Sligo constructed its own bin in the school
greenhouse using plywood and ordered 1 pound of red-
worms from a grower in Wisconsin for $18. Using a paper
shredder donated by the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA), another WasteWise partner, the
school shreds used office paper for bedding. Sligo prepares
the bedding for the worms by wetting 1 pound of shredded
paper with  3 pounds  (equal to 3 pints) of water. The worms
thrive in this moist environment and will eat through the
food waste  and bedding, producing a rich organic vermi-
compost. Sligo changes the bedding every 3 to 6 months
and uses the vermicompost on the flowerbeds around the
school grounds. In addition, Sligo found that the excess
water, which builds up in the bin, is  another great source of
nutrients for plants.
Overcoming Challenges
  To make the project a success, the school had to address
three specific challenges. First, to help younger students who
needed more supervision and assistance changing the bed-
ding, a teacher oversees the project. Sligo also encountered
space limitations. The greenhouse only holds a moderate-
sized bin, so only 15 to 20 percent of the school's food waste
can be vermicomposted at this point. Finally, when school is
out during  the summer months and  no food waste is avail-
able, the worms tend to crawl out of the  bin and dry up. As
a result, Sligo must purchase new worms each academic
year. Nonetheless, vermicomposting has been a great success
for  Sligo. "Even though we face special challenges at our
school," Gair notes, "I highly recommend vermicomposting
to any organization looking for an efficient and cost-
effective way to reduce food waste." For more information
on vermicomposting, see the Resources section of this
Update or contact Ken Gair at 301 434-1417 or via e-mail
at .

   Waste Wise Update
Composting Heats up  at  UTC
Carrier Corporation
       Temperature matters to WasteWise partner UTC
       Carrier Corporation, a manufacturer of heating and
       air-conditioning systems. The same is true for com-
posting, where the quality of the finished product depends
on maintaining heat within the compost pile. Perhaps the
company's long experience in temperature control is one rea-
son Carrier was able to implement a highly effective windrow
composting operation at its Syracuse,  New York, facility,
diverting 100 tons of diverse organic wastes from the landfill
and saving the company $40,000 in disposal costs in 1998.
   Carrier operates a closed-loop system. Four thousand
employees in 18 buildings, three large cafeterias, and two car-
pentry shops provide the food scraps, sawdust, and wood chips
that supply the composting operation year-round. Grounds
maintenance generates grass clippings,  leaves, and yard trim-
mings for composting during the fall and summer months.
The finished compost goes to meet Carrier's extensive land-
scaping requirements at its 3.4-million-square-foot facility.
   Carrier's recycling coordinator, Angle Scafidi, attributes
the company's composting success to  management support
and employee education, both of which were cultivated as
carefully as their compost.
  Carrier's Simple but Effective  Process
  Carrier's composting process has four stages:
  • Separation. Carrier collects preconsumer food scraps in
    90 gallon wheeled bins located near the food preparation
    areas of the cafeteria. Employees know that blue collec-
    tion containers are for vegetable scraps only; no grease
    or meat products are allowed.
  • Collection and Mixing. The buildings and grounds crew
    transport the bins to the compost site each day, using a
    front-end loader. At the site, on a concrete pad, the food
    scraps are mixed with sawdust, wood chips ground from
    clean  delivery pallets, and yard waste (when available).
  • Pile maintenance. The grounds crew uses shovels and ther-
    mometers to combine, turn, and monitor the windrows. The
    temperature of the piles is taken several times a week and
    generally runs between 105 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
    When the piles start to cool, the grounds crew turns them to
    ensure the middle of the pile has adequate air, moisture, and
    nutrients to rekindle bacterial activity.
  • Curing. When the temperature of the windrows no longer
    increases after turning, the curing stage begins. Curing
    takes  about 30 days, after which the compost is ready for
    spreading on Carrier grounds.
   Starting With a Plan
     Carrier did its homework before jumping into composting.
   The company formed a research team, which visited several local
   correctional facilities to learn about their institutional composting
   programs. The team then applied what they had learned to
   Carrier's facilities. They studied where the company generated
   food scraps, where source separation should occur, and who
   would be responsible for collecting and emptying the containers.
   They also collected cafeteria food waste for several weeks to deter-
   mine the amount of compostable material generated each week.
     To keep the procedures simple, the team limited roles in the
   project to cafeteria workers and grounds crew. The group also
   chose the composting method that required the least labor of
   all the options they considered—turned windrow composting.
     Armed with solid research and well-thought-out proce-
   dures, the team sold Carrier management on the program by
   demonstrating how composting would save the company
   money, enhance Carrier's corporate image, and  begin a new
   phase of waste reduction at the facility.
   Implementing  Through Employee Education
     To smoothly roll out the new program, Carrier conducted
   training classes for the grounds crew and food service work-
   ers involved. The company also distributed an informational
   pamphlet explaining the program to all other employees.
     Carrier employees were very receptive to the  program. In
   fact, the grounds crew was so excited about it, they posted
   little signs indicating where they had used the first batch of
   compost for tree and shrub planting. The signs  read,
   "Compost Home Grown By Carrier."
   Evaluating the Program
     Adding composting to the company's reuse and recycling
   programs demonstrated to employees that waste  reduction
   was a high priority for the organization. "Aside from econom-
   ic savings and environmental concerns," Scafidi noted, "we
   wanted to show our employees that we were serious about the
   whole concept of waste prevention." Carrier also showed
   employees that composting is a waste reduction method they
   can take home. In celebration of Earth Day 1998, Carrier
   offered employees home composting equipment  and classes
   on composting techniques.  For Earth Day 1999, Carrier
   offered its employees free compost, and employees took home
   10 tons of it to use in their home gardens.
     Carrier's program emphasizes low-cost simplicity and a
   sense of pride in contributing to the company's waste reduc-
   tion program and wider environmental goals. With these ele-
   ments in place, composting at the company shows no signs
   of cooling off. For more information about Carrier's com-
   posting program, contact Angle Scafidi at 315 432-6791.

                                 WasteWise Update
Compost   Innovations
         Compost can provide a healthy boost for farmers seeking hearty corn crops
         or for homeowners tending prize-winning roses. Beyond its well-known
         uses as a soil amendment, however, compost can play a much larger
role—as a cost-effective solution to and safeguard against environmental problems.
  The microbial activity within mature compost, as well as
its physical and chemical properties, can be used for a num-
ber of beneficial activities such as pollution prevention and
pollution remediation.
Pollution Prevention
  As topsoil erodes, it allows rainwater to flow directly into
streams and lakes rather than being absorbed and filtered by
the soil. This runoff brings with it harmful fertilizers and pes-
ticides. Compost can reduce the need for fertilizers and pesti-
cides by at least 50 percent by adding organic bulk and
humus to poor soils and by suppressing certain plant diseases
and parasites. Compost also helps soil better retain water. This
property makes compost useful in projects involving wetlands
restoration, soil erosion prevention,
and storm-water runoff prevention.
Pollution Remediation
  Compost can provide cost-effective remediation of conta-
minated soils and water from areas such as Brownfields or
Superfund sites. The microorganisms in mature, cured com-
post can sequester or break down contaminants in water or
soil, transforming them into humus and harmless byproducts
such as water, carbon dioxide, and salts.
  For more information on beneficial uses of compost, order
Compost—New Applications For an Age-Old Technology (EPA530-
F-97-047) by calling EPA's publications center at 800 490-9198.
King County Explores Using  Compost to Aid Salmon Recovery
          WasteWise partner King County, Washington, is
          playing a key role in a regional effort to protect
          and restore salmon populations, now listed as a
threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Local
water quality and wetland habitats are threatened by urban
development and landscaping practices that remove or com-
pact native soils and vegetation cover, thereby damaging their
capacity to retain water and filter out pollutants. Rainwater
that runs off of impervious surfaces can carry sediment,
pesticides, and fertilizers into water bodies, posing a threat to
aquatic life such as salmon.
  According to King County organics program manager Josh
Marx, the county is looking closely at using compost as
another tool in its wide array of salmon recovery efforts. "The
combination of a rainy climate and the quick pace of develop-
ment has led to excessive runoff. When compost is added to
the soil," Marx explains, "it improves the soil's water absorp-
tion and retention capabilities as well as pollutant binding
properties. What's good for the soil, is good for water
resources, which in turn supports fish." He added that the
county plans to replenish soils with compost—especially on
urban land—through best management practices and site
development standards.
  In the meantime, the King County Department of Natural
Resources has formed an organics team, incorporating representa-
tives from different divisions to examine opportunities to integrate
various organic programs. A study is now under way to determine
how best to increase the capacity of organic materials being com-
posted. The study also will analyze different facility options for
handling organic feedstocks such as yard debris, soiled paper, food
and wood waste, biosolids, and agricultural waste.
               The mention of any company, product, or process in this publication does not constitute or imply
                             endorsement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

   Waste Wise Update
    Composting  Cotton  at  Johnston   Industries
      A  s companies experiment with composting, some are
    ^\ finding ways to recover organic wastes other than food
    I   \scraps and yard trimmings. In fact, some manufacturers
    have discovered vast quantities of compostable materials  in
    their own manufacturing byproducts. This discovery paid off
    for WasteWise partner Johnston Industries, a diversified fabrics
    manufacturer based in Columbus, Georgia, that composts
    more than 5,000 tons of cotton fiber and saves more than
    $200,000 in waste hauling and disposal costs each year.

    Hew It All Get Started
    When waste fiber output increased dramatically in 1994,
    Johnston began to consider composting as an alternative to
    spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in hauling and  dis-
    posal fees. Johnston hired a consultant to research composting
    options and then forwarded the consultant's report and a
    request for a feasibility study to the Alabama Department of
    Environmental Management. The request was approved expedi-
    tiously and Johnston has been composting ever since.

    Fiber as Feed  for Compost
    Johnston composts fiber from a Valley, Alabama, division that
    buys fiber byproduct from other textile manufacturing plants
    and cleans it for reuse  in absorbent  products such as cotton
    swabs and personal hygiene products. Only the high-quality
    portion of the fiber is reclaimed; therefore, this process gener-
    ates 1 0 to 15 tons per  day of waste  fiber, which Johnston
    diverts from the waste stream into its composting program.
    According to Johnston's environmental manager Hal Wood,
  "Measuring the amount of fiber composted is straightfor-
  ward." The difference between the amount of fiber byproduct
  that enters the plant for processing and the amount of
  cleaned fiber that exits the plant to be sold is the amount of
  waste fiber sent for composting.

  Johnston uses windrow composting to break down the fiber.
  Employees form piles using front-end loaders and aerate the
  mixture with a Wildcat compost turner. With adequate rainfall
  and aeration, the composting process takes 90 to 120 days.

  According to  Wood, "Composting at Johnston  Industries is a
  simple process—Mother Nature takes over, but she is not very
  forgiving without the right moisture and oxygen content."
  Johnston can add moisture to the operation during dry peri-
  ods in the summer, but the  composting process operates more
  naturally and efficiently in spring, fall, and winter, when the
  area receives adequate rainfall.

  Marketing  Composted  Fiber
  Five years after its inception, the program is still going strong.
  The company sells or gives  away finished compost to local
  gardeners and hobby farmers. Not surprisingly, the company
  experiences a surge in demand in the springtime, although
  the compost is available year-round.

  As gardeners around Valley, Alabama, can attest, Johnston
  has turned a  mountain of waste disposal costs into piles of a
  useful commodity. For more information about Johnston
  Industries' fiber composting program, contact  Hal Wood at
  706 641-3190.
              If you have received this publication in error, or want to be removed from the WasfeWise Update mailing
              list, please call the WasteWise Helpline at 800 EPA-WISE (372-9473) or send a copy of this page, with the
              mailing label, back to WasteWise at the address below. Many WasteWise publications, including the
              WasteWise Update,  are available electronically on the WasteWise Web site at .
    United States
    Environmental Protection Agency
    Washington, DC 20460

    Official Business
    Penalty for Private  Use

                              r       c       e       s
EPA Composting Resources (avail-
able at )
Compost—New Applications For an
Age-Old Technology (EPA530-F-97-047).
This packet is intended for those interested
in applying compost to a number of inno-
vative, cost saving uses including contami-
nated soil remediation and pollution pre-
vention. Case studies illustrate these uses.
Composting of Yard Trimmings
and Municipal Solid Waste
Geared toward  municipal planners, this
publication helps decision-makers devel-
op composting programs in their com-
munities. It describes composting
processes and examines  how to plan a
composting operation from collection
through marketing finished compost.
Organic Materials Management
Strategies (EPA530-R-97-003).
This report describes seven composting
strategies for common organic materials
and presents an analysis of the benefits
and costs of each strategy.

Other Composting  Resources
City Farmer.
This Web site describes vermicomposting
and the steps involved in creating and
maintaining  a worm bin in your home or
office, .
A Guide to Commercial Food
This publication provides food service
businesses with tools to evaluate the ben-
efits of composting, strategies for deter-
mining whether a composting program is
feasible, and steps to establish such a
program. Available for $30. To  order,
contact the U.S. Composting Council
Research and Education Foundation.
Phone: 301 913-2885. Or visit
BioCycle, Journal of Composting
and Recycling.
This monthly magazine is one of the
leading publications on composting and
recycling. It showcases examples of how
to launch and expand composting  and
organics recycling programs involving
everything from biosolids to yard trim-
mings. To subscribe, call 61 0 967-41 35
or visit their Web site at
< WWW. igpress.com >.
Cornell Waste Management
Institute/Cooperative Extension.
These institutions offer extensive resources
on composting for businesses and institu-
tions, including a number of tool kits,
manuals, tip sheets, and videos. One kit
includes a manual with  case studies and
two videos. Available  for $35.  For more
information, contact the Institute at 607
255-1 1 87. To view case studies online,
visit .
Don't Bag It—Compost It!
This Web site is an excellent resource for
those interested in small-scale compost-
ing projects. It  includes a slide show that
illustrates composting step by step.
The Compost Resource Page.
This Web site serves as a hub of informa-
tion on composting. It provides an exten-
sive list of links to composting resources on
the Web. .
University of Maine Cooperative
Extension (UMCE).
In conjunction with the university's com-
posting school, the cooperative extension
offers a set of videotapes demonstrating
the feasibility of composting organic
wastes. A complete set of the videos is
available for $75; single copies are $10
each. To order, contact the UMCE Waste
Management Office. Phone: 207 581-
2722. Or visit .
U.S. Composting Council.
This organization is involved in research,
public education, composting and com-
post standards, expansion of compost
markets, and gaining public support for
composting. Phone: 440 989-2748. Or
visit .
Maryland Department of Public
Works & Transportation.
The solid waste services section of the
department's Web site provides extensive
advice on grasscycling, from fertilizer
application and  mowing methods to
lawnmower and watering options.
       All EPA publications are available through EPATs National Service Center for Environmental
             Publications (NSCEP): Phone: 800 490-9198.  Web site: www.epa.gov/ncepihom.

EPA Food Recovery Resources
Don't Throw Away That Food:
Strategies for Record-Setting Waste
Reduction (EPA530-F-98-023).
This publication features nine case stud-
ies of successful food waste recovery
programs. The case studies include
detailed information on types of materi-
als collected, methods  used, and associ-
ated costs and savings.
Donating Surplus Food to the Needy
This tip sheet examines issues involved in
donating food and highlights WasteWise part-
ners who have had success with this activity.
                                                                           Managing Food Scraps as Animal
                                                                           Feed (EPA530-F-96-037).
                                                                           This tip sheet examines issues involved in
                                                                           sending food scraps to farmers and high-
                                                                           lights WasteWise partners who have had
                                                                           success with this activity.
       Questions      to      Consider
                        Before Getting  Started  With Composting
1. Assess the resources available
• Do you have the capital, equipment, and space available to initiate and
  maintain a site?
• What types of organics will you compost? If food is your primary type, will
  you have access to bulking agents such as paper, wood chips, and sawdust?
• How will you use the finished compost? On site, or is there a market to
  sell the compost?

2. Select a composting method
• What composting method will best suit the resources available? Static
  piles? Aerated windrows? In vessel? Vermicomposting?
• Are there any regulatory issues or permitting requirements involved in
  storing and composting organic waste using the method you choose?
                                1.  Locate a  composting facility
                                • What types of organics does the facility accept?
                                • How much organic material can the facili-
                                 ty accommodate from your organization
                                 every week?
                                • What is the tipping fee at the facility?

                                2.  Arrange  for  transport of the
                                • Will organics collection require another hauler?
                                • Or, can you arrange for collection and off-
                                 site transport under your current hauler?
                                • Does the composter provide hauling service?
                          3.  Determine how the organics will  be collected, stored, and
                             transported within  the facility
                          • Who will supervise the operation?
                          • Will you need to purchase additional containers?
                          • Who will be responsible for separating the compostable materials?
                          • How often will the containers need to be emptied? Who will be responsible for this?

                  4. Educate your employees
                  • Have you clearly communicated composting expectations and responsibilities to your employees?
                  • Who will be responsible for educating and training the employees?

          5. Monitor and  assess  the program
          •  Are the organics being separated properly?
          •  Are you having problems with odors from containers?
          •  Have you asked your employees for feedback?
          •  Can the frequency of waste collection be reduced as a result of the organics diversion?
 Source: Adapted from A Guide to Commercial Food Composting, Composting Council Research and Education Foundation, December 1 997.