Category Archives: compost

Compost conjectures

creative commons license, by Sarah Gilbert

How much food waste do Minnesotans compost at home? This is one of those questions where we really don’t know the answer. Backyard composting is a purely private affair, one that doesn’t pass through any sort of permitting or reporting process. So what’s an ecologist to do? I often find myself in a position like this, where nobody has measured the thing I want to know — but I can piece together enough information to make a decent estimate. It’s a fascinating process, so let’s pull back the curtain and take a look…

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The costs of being green

It’s not easy being green — and it turns out it’s not cheap, either. This certainly isn’t what I expected to find when I started looking into the costs of waste disposal in Seattle.

Trash and organics picked up throughout the city are first taken to one of two transfer stations, North (in the Fremont neighborhood) or South (in the South Park neighborhood). The North Station is temporarily closed and being reconstructed, so as of this writing everything is going via the South Transfer Station. From there, Seattle’s trash travels over 300 miles, by train, to the Columbia Ridge Landfill in Eastern Oregon (view map). Organics are split between two composting companies, Lenz in Stanwood, WA (60mi from the South Transfer Station, or 50mi from the North Transfer Station; view map), and PacifiClean outside Cle Elum (98mi from either transfer station; view map). Recycling is taken directly to Rabanco, in SODO (the neighborhood SOuth of DOwntown), which for much of the city is a shorter haul than the South Transfer Station. Continue reading

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Filed under biosolids, compost, garbage, recycling, Seattle