Fri 16 Mar 2012
Between the nitrogin that they hose around the environment and the methane they spew, we have to change farming if we are going to change the world.
Go there and read. More next week.
Fri 16 Mar 2012
Between the nitrogin that they hose around the environment and the methane they spew, we have to change farming if we are going to change the world.
Go there and read. More next week.
Tue 27 Dec 2011
Damming large rivers to generate electricity seemed like a good thing when there were only 1 billion or 2 people on the planet. But now with a planet nearing a human die back at 7 billion people and having stressed the planet to nearly its bursting point they are causing more problems then they are worth. I only include a couple of paragraphs here but you have to love, “making America the most damming country” part. You go girl..
Some 40,000 large dams, most of which were built in the past 50 years, now obstruct the world’s rivers. More than 400,000 square kilometers––an area larger than Zimbabwe, and 13 times the size of Lesotho––have been inundated by reservoirs worldwide. The world’s largest impoundment, the 8,500 sq.km. Volta Reservoir behind Ghana’s Akasombo Dam, flooded 4% of that nation’s land area. In the United States, whose 5,500 large dams make it the second most dammed country in the world, we have stopped building large dams, and are now spending great amounts of money trying to fix the problems created by existing dams.
The Environmental Consequences of Big Dams
Although the impacts of large dams have been well documented for some time now, in case after case, new ones are proposed whose environmental impacts are downplayed or even ignored. A 1990 internal survey of World Bank hydroelectric dam projects showed that 58% were planned and built without any consideration of downstream impacts, even when these impacts could be predicted to cause massive coastal erosion, pollution and other problems.
The following are some of the more serious environmental impacts of dams on rivers and the life they support. I have concentrated on the kinds of impacts that might affect the Orange River watershed, leaving out other major dam–caused problems that have affected rivers under different ecological circumstances.
Effects on River Systems
Reducing the flow of water from a river changes the landscape it flows through, which in turn can affect the ecosystem’s flora and fauna. A dam holds back sediments, especially the heavy gravel and cobbles. The river, deprived of its sediment load, seeks to recapture it by eroding the downstream channel and banks, undermining bridges and other riverbank structures. Riverbeds are typically eroded by several meters within a decade of first closing a dam; the damage can extend for tens or even hundreds of kilometers below a dam. Within nine years of closing Hoover Dam in the US, the riverbed below the dam had lowered by more than 4 meters. Riverbed deepening will also lower the groundwater table along a river, threatening vegetation and local wells in the floodplain and requiring crop irrigation in places where there was previously no need. The depletion of riverbed gravels reduces habitat for many fish that spawn in the gravelly river bottom, and for invertebrates such as insects, molluscs and crustaceans. Changes in the physical habitat and hydrology of rivers are implicated in 93% of freshwater fauna declines in North America.
Before the Aswan High Dam, the Nile River carried about 124 million tons of sediment to the sea each year, depositing nearly 10 million tons on the floodplain and delta. Today, 98% of that sediment remains behind the dam. The result has been a drop in soil productivity and depth, among other serious changes to Egypt’s floodplain agriculture. The Aswan Dam has also led to serious coastal erosion, another problem stemming from the loss of sediments in a dammed river. Another example of this problem is along the mouth of the Volta River in Ghana. Akosombo Dam has cut off the supply of sediment to the Volta Estuary, affecting also neighboring Togo and Benin, whose coasts are now being eaten away at a rate of 10–15 meters per year. A project to strengthen the Togo coast has cost US$3.5 million for each kilometer protected. The story is the same on coastline after coastline where dams have stopped a river’s sediments.
Go there and read. More tomorrow.
Tue 29 Nov 2011
I got this from my buddy Darryl Malek-Wiley. At:
He has been a very active environmentalist in Southern Louisiana for 30 years. He got it here:
Women who drink water contaminated with low levels of the weed-killer atrazine may be more likely to have irregular menstrual cycles and low estrogen levels, scientists concluded in a new study. The most widely used herbicide in the United States, atrazine is frequently detected in surface and ground water, particularly in agricultural areas of the Midwest. The newest research, which compared women in Illinois farm towns to women in Vermont, adds to the growing scientific evidence linking atrazine to altered hormones.
|University of Georgia|
|The herbicide atrazine is frequently detected in surface and groundwater, especially near cornfields in the Midwest.|
Women who drink water contaminated with low levels of the weed-killer atrazine may be more likely to have irregular menstrual cycles and low estrogen levels, scientists concluded in a new study.
The most widely used herbicide in the United States, atrazine is frequently detected in surface and ground water, particularly in agricultural areas of the Midwest. Approximately 75 percent of all U.S. cornfields are treated with atrazine each year.
The newest research, which compared women in Illinois to women in Vermont, adds to the growing scientific evidence linking atrazine to altered hormones.
The women from Illinois farm towns were nearly five times more likely to report irregular periods than the Vermont women, and more than six times as likely to go more than six weeks between periods. In addition, the Illinois women had significantly lower levels of estrogen during an important part of the menstrual cycle.
Tap water in the Illinois communities had double the concentration of atrazine in the Vermont communities’ water. Nevertheless, the water in both states was far below the federal drinking water standard currently enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
It is a long article. I stopped at the mention of Illinois. Go there and read. More tomorrow.
Thu 10 Nov 2011
When are the poor countries of the world going to catch a break. First they are conquered by the countries of Europe. Then they are handed over to corrupt and inept “local” leadership. Finally they are bought and paid for by the new corporate elites. This is just to0 nasty for words. But this is humans finest hour.
3 November 2011
Multinational corporations are buying enormous tracts of land in Africa to the detriment of local communities. Agazit Abate warns that the land grab puts countries on the path to increased food insecurity, environmental degradation, increased reliance on aid and marginalisation of farming and pastoralist communities.
The recent phenomenon of land grab, as outlined in the extensive research of the Oakland Institute, has resulted in the sale of enormous portions of land throughout Africa. In 2009 alone, nearly 60 million hectares of land were purchased or leased throughout the continent for the production and export of food, cut flowers and agrofuel crops.
Land grab was in part spurred by the food and financial crisis of 2008 when international bodies, corporations, investment funds, wealthy individuals, and governments began to re-focus their attention on agriculture and food as a profitable commodity. As outlined in the reports, the consequences of land grab include increased food insecurity, environmental degradation, community repression and displacement, and increased reliance on aid.
MEET THE INVESTORS
While media coverage has focused on the role of countries like India and China in land deals, the Oakland Institute’s investigation reveals the role of Western firms, wealthy US and European individuals, and investment funds with ties to major banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Investors include alternative investment firms like the London-based Emergent that works to attract speculators, and various universities like Harvard, Spelman and Vanderbilt.
Several Texas-based interests are associated with a major 600,000 hectares South Sudan deal which involves Kinyeti Development LLC, an Austin, Texas-based ‘global business development partnership and holding company’ managed by Howard Eugene Douglas, a former United States Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Refugee Affairs. A key player in the largest land deal in Tanzania is Iowa agribusiness entrepreneur and Republican Party stalwart, Bruce Rastetter.
US companies are often below the radar, using subsidiaries registered in other countries, like Petrotech-ffn Agro Mali which is a subsidiary of Petrotech-ffn USA. Many European countries are also involved, often with support provided by their governments and embassies in African countries. For instance, Swedish and German firms have interests in the production of biofuels in Tanzanian. Addax Bioenergy from Switzerland and Quifel International Holdings (QIH) from Portugal are major investors in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone Agriculture (SLA) is actually a subsidiary of the UK based Crad-1 (CAPARO Renewable Agriculture Developments Ltd.), associated with the Tony Blair African Governance Initiative.
I just wanted to post the villains. For the rest of the analysis, go there and read that. More tomorrow.
Thu 13 Oct 2011
So when to plant and when to harvest, that is the question? This information is for North Carolina but is probably applicable to all.
Table 1. Fall Vegetable Planting Guide.
|Vegetables||Suggested Planting1||Suggested Cultivars||Inches Between Plants||Planting Depth (inches)||Cold
|Asparagus (crowns)||Nov. 15 to Mar. 15||Mary Washington, Jersey Giant, Jersey Gem||15||6.0||—||2 years|
|Beets||July 15 to Aug. 15||Ruby Queen, Early Wonder, Red Ace, Pacemaker II||2||0.5 to 1.0||Semi-hardy||55 to 60|
|Broccoli||July 15 to Aug. 15||DeCicco, Packman, Premium Crop, Green Duke, Emperor||18||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||70 to 80|
|Brussels sprouts||July 1 to 15||Long Island Improved, Jade Cross Hybrid||20||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||90 to 100|
|Cabbage (plants)||Aug 1 to 15||Round Dutch, Early Jersey Wakefield, Red Express, Red Rookie, Sweetbase||12||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||70 to 80|
|Cabbage, Chinese||Aug. 1 to 15||Pak Choi, Mei Ching, Jade Pagoda, China Pride||12||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||75-85|
|Carrots||July 1 to 15||Danvers Half Long, Spartan Bonus, Little Finger, Thumbelina, Scarlet Nantes||2||0.25 to 0.5||Hardy||85 to 95|
|Cauliflower||Aug 1 to 15||Early Snowball “A”, Violet Queen, Snowcrown||18||0.5 to 1.0||Semi-hardy||55 to 65|
|Collards||July 15 to Aug. 15||Vates, Morris’ Improved Heading, Carolina, Blue Max||18||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||60 to 100|
|Cucumbers, pickling||Aug. 1 to 15||Carolina, Calypso, Liberty (mtns.), County Fair ’83||10||1.0 to 1.5||Tender||40 to 50|
|Cucumbers, slicing||Aug. 1 to 15||Poinsett 76, Sweet Slice, County Fair ’83, Salad Bush, Fanfare||10||1.0 to 1.5||Tender||40 to 50|
|Kale||Aug. 15 to Sept. 1||Green Curled Scotch, Early Siberian, Vates, Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, Blue Knight||6||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||40 to 50|
|Kohlrabi||Aug. 1 to Sept. 1||White Vienna, Grand Duke Hybrid||4||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||50 to 60|
|Lettuce (leaf)||Aug. 1 to Sept. 1||Grand Rapids, Salad Bowl, Buttercrunch, Red Sails, Romulus||6||0.25 to 0.5||Semi-hardy||40 to 50|
|Lettuce (head)||Aug. 15 to 31||Great Lakes, Ithaca||10||0.25 to 0.5||Semi-hardy||70 to 85|
|Mustard||Aug. 1 to Sept. 15||Southern Giant Curled, Tendergreen, Savannah||2||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||30 to 40|
|Onions (seeds)||Sept. 1 to 30||Texas 1015, Granex 33, Candy||4||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||130 to 150|
|Onions (sets or plants)||Sept. 1 to 15||Ebenezer, Excell, Early Grano||4||—||Hardy||60 to 80|
|Radishes||Aug. 15 to Sept. 15||Early Scarlet Globe, Cherry Belle, Snowbells, White Icicle||1||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||25 to 30|
|Radish, Diakon||Aug. 15 to Sept. 15||April Cross, H. N. Cross||4||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||60 to 75|
|Rutabagas||July 1 to Aug. 1||American Purple Top, Laurentian||4||0.5 to 1.0||Semi-hardy||70 to 80|
|Spinach||Aug. 1 to 15||Hybrid 7, Dark Green Bloomsdale, Tyee Hybrid||6||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||50 to 60|
|Turnips||Aug. 1 to 31||Purple Top White Globe, Just Right, Tokyo Cross Hybrid, White Egg, All Top||2||0.5 to 1.0||Hardy||55 to 60|
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.
Wed 12 Oct 2011
Please read the entire post because the last line is curious.
HARVESTING OF FALL GARDEN PRODUCE
After gardeners have worked SO hard and SO long to grow fresh, could-be-delicious produce, many are often robbed of their potential goodness because of improper, ill-timed harvesting. To avoid the occurrence of that unfortunate situation again, we have listed a number of the most popular garden vegetables and the harvest procedure for each.
BEANS, SNAP – Harvest before maturity when pods are not completely full for maximum tenderness. Wash immediately and refrigerate.
BEETS – Early beets should be pulled from the row when about 2 inches in diameter. If they are allowed to get much larger, they become woody, especially in warm, dry weather. Remove all but about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of the tops. Wash and refrigerate immediately.
BROCCOLI – Broccoli heads should be harvested when they reach a 4 to 8 inch diameter size and are firm and compact. Maximum size potential can be determined by watching the floret development. Broccoli heads appear to be singular structures when actually they are composed of many individual flowers called florets. When individual groups of florets begin to loosen and emerge from the otherwise continuum surface and are not tightly clustered, the head is as large as it is capable of being. If allowed to remain without harvesting, the florets will continue to elongate and eventually the entire head will be a yellow blooming composite flower. To harvest cut the stalk below the head leaving 8 to 10 inches of stem and attached leaves. Chill immediately.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS – Harvesting usually begins in 3 to 3 1/2 months after transplanting. Early sprouts should be picked over several times, the lowest on the plant being taken each time, otherwise these will open out and become yellow. The first picking should not be delayed after the lower leaves begin to turn yellow as the sprouts get tough and lose their delicate flavor. In picking, the leaf below the sprout is broken off and the sprout removed by breaking away from the stalk. As the lower leaves and sprouts are removed, the plant continues to push out new leaves at the top, and in the axil of each leaf a bud, or sprout, is formed. All lower sprouts should be removed even though they may fail to make solid little heads.
Many gardeners obviously plant cabbage, cauliflower and carrots and don’t know when to harvest them. Size alone cannot be used as the determining factor since variety grown and cultural conditions can determine the size at maturity. Also many vegetables can be eaten in an immature stage before maximum size is attained.
CABBAGE – Waylon Jennings tells folks how to determine when cabbage is mature, i.e., it has to be “firm feeling.” When cabbage heads become solid and the sides or top cannot be pressed in with the thumb, it is mature and large as it will get. Often mature heads will split open. If you want to delay harvest of mature cabbage yet prevent splitting of mature heads, twist the entire plants slightly to break several roots. This will reduce uptake of water from the soil and delay splitting.
CAULIFLOWER – Cauliflower heads should be harvested when they reach a 4 to 8 inch diameter size and are firm and compact. Maximum size potential can be determined by watching the floret development. Cauliflower heads appear to be singular structures when actually they are composed of many individual flowers called florets. When individual groups of florets, termed curd, begin to loosen and emerge from the otherwise continuum surface and are not tightly clustered, the cauliflower is as large as it is capable of being. If allowed to remain the florets will continue to elongate and eventually the entire head of cauliflower will be a yellow blooming composite flower. To harvest cut the stalk just below the head. The yellowish color of cauliflower curd surface is caused by exposure to sunlight rather than roaming pets with indiscriminate urinary habits. To protect the cauliflower head from sun and subsequent discoloration, when the small bud head appears in the center of the plant draw the lower leaves of the plant loosely over the bud in a tent-like fashion. Fasten them together with string or a rubber band. Really hungry, frugal gardeners always want to know if the leaves of cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are edible. Certainly! However, older leaves are naturally tougher and excessive leaf removal reduces overall yield and size. Leaves of cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are just as good as collard and mustard leaves provided the correct amounts of fat-back and black-eyed peas are available. (Northerners won’t understand this sentence!)
CARROTS – Since there are many varieties with different potential sizes and lengths, when to harvest can be a mystery. Most varieties fully mature within 60 to 85 days but can be pulled and consumed earlier. Crown size can be an indicator. The crown, where the foliage attaches to the root, usually attains at least a three-fourths inch diameter size when the carrot is fully mature. Another surefire technique is to pull the largest carrot and examine the bottom or growing tip. If the tip is orange the carrot is mature. If the tip is white the carrot is still growing and will continue to enlarge. There is no need to harvest the carrot crop all at once. Carrots can be left in the ground after they mature for several weeks without adverse affects. In fact, the cool garden soil is the best place in Texas to store carrots.
Tue 11 Oct 2011
First there are places in the US where you can garden year round. Most of the southeast falls into this category. Yes there are issues around water use because much of off season gardening requires watering. But when you look at the exercise and healthy food it can produce, plus the off setting of transportation costs, especially in gasoline costs overall the good out weighs the bad. I would contend with a solar space attached to a house or proper cold frames you can actually year round garden up to the Great Lakes latitudes. But this is not what traditionally has been considered fall gardening. I also might add something will take up later that winter crop covers can be considered both fall gardening but also composting. I also can hear a lot of you saying that you are sooooo glad when the gardening season is “over” that the thought of getting the rototiller out in August or September is too painful to consider. But we all over plant and also underestimate the amount of work and the amout of time involved. To which I say, “Stop it”. Here is a good primer from East Texans – the home of Stevie Ray Vaughn.
I skipped to the gardening part of this article.
Every time you prepare the soil to plant a new crop, always mix in as much compost as you can get your hands on. Add well-decomposed animal manure, fertilizer and lime if soil tests indicate a low fertility or pH, and work all ingredients into the soil.
Southern peas such as blackeye, purplehull, cream and crowders make a great, edible summer cover crop for building the soil and providing food. The pea vines can be mowed and rototilled under while still green for extra soil building benefits or allowed to produce peas and then tilled under.
Tomatoes and peppers need to be planted soon – by the first of August – if they are going to make a good crop before first frost. What if your garden spot is not yet ready? Buy your transplants now and grow them in a larger container to plant in the garden later.
Get either 6-pack transplants or 4-inch transplants. Put them in a 1- or 3-gallon nursery container filled with potting soil. Do not use soil from your garden. Add slow release fertilizer (like Osmocote or other slow release formulation) to the soil mix. Set the pots in a sunny spot in the yard, not in the shade!
Every time you water, use a water-soluble fertilizer solution instead of just plain water. Your transplants will continue to grow and be healthy, just as if you have transplanted them directly into the ground. Once your garden site is ready, you will have large, healthy tomato and pepper plants to set out. They will be easier to take care of and you will be assured of a bountiful harvest before the first freeze of winter.
Grow fast maturing tomato varieties for the fall harvest. Look for varieties with less than 75 days to maturity, such as ‘Merced’, ‘Bingo’, ‘Celebrity’, ‘Whirlaway’, and ‘Carnival’. ‘Surefire’ is a smaller, processing tomato variety (with thicker skin) which sets and matures all of its tomatoes very quickly, giving you a “surefire” harvest that beats the first freeze. Most cherry tomatoes will bear within 65 days of transplanting.
Timing is very important for a successful fall garden. Heat tolerant/cold sensitive crops need to be planted in time to mature before cold weather slows and stops growth, while cool season/heat sensitive crops are planted late enough to avoid the heat, but early enough to take the first frosts of winter.
The following are optimal “windows of time” for planting fall vegetables:
|Beans – 8/1 – 9/1 (lima beans 7/15 – 8/15)||Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) – 7/15 – 8/1|
|Beets – 9/1 – 10/15||Mustard – 9/15 – 10/15|
|Broccoli plants – 8/1 – 9/15||Parsley – 8/15 – 10/1|
|Brussels sprouts – 8/1 – 10/1||Peas, English – 8/15 – 9/15|
|Cabbage plants – 8/15 – 9/15||Peas, Southern – 7/1 – 8/1|
|Carrots – 8/15 – 10/15||Pepper plants – 7/1 – 8/1|
|Cauliflower plants – 8/15 – 9/15||Potatoes, Irish – 8/15 – 9/15|
|Chard, Swiss – 8/1 – 10/15||Pumpkin – 7/1 – 8/1|
|Collard/Kale – 8/15 – 10/1||Radish – 9/15 – 10/15|
|Corn, Sweet – 8/1 – 8/15||Spinach – 9/1 – 10/15|
|Cucumber – 8/1 – 9/1||Squash, Summer – 7/15 – 8/15|
|Eggplant plants – 7/15 – 8/1||Squash, Winter – 7/1 – 7/15|
|Garlic – 9/1 – 10/15||Tomato plants – 7/15 – 8/1|
|Kohlrabi – 8/15 – 9/15||Turnips – 10/1 – 11/1|
|Lettuce (leaf) – 9/15 – 10/15||Watermelon – 7/1 – 8/1|
Seeded vegetables can be tricky to get up in the heat of summer. Soil often forms a crust on the surface after tillage and watering. This “crust” can hinder tender seedlings from breaking through. Here are a couple of tips to help get seedlings up in the summer.
Please read the rest. It is good stuff. More tomorrow.
Fri 7 Oct 2011
If your workplace has a cafeteria or a food service this is serious business and a potential money maker.
Welcome to Get Green, the Herald’s blog about making the newspaper more environmentally efficient and friendly. We offer some of our experiences about the challenges and successes of “greening” the Herald, as well as tips you can use at home. Questions? Comments? Got your own tip to share? Contact Eric Degerman via 509-582-1404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
However, if it’s good enough for Gail Everett and the City of Richland, I’m game.
And I’ll it will serve as a test to see just how thoughtful my fellow employees at the Herald are.
Last month, I visited Gail Â— Richland’s environmental education coordinator Â— at city hall to talk about getting a compost bin started at Herald headquarters.
Lo and behold, she’s not the only one working in her small office. There are a bunch of happy worms dining on her discards of fruit.
With that inspiration, I’ll launch composting efforts at the Herald later this month. I need to acquire a suitable bin, then start creating a new home for some worms. Then, I believe Gail will be adopting out some of her “co-workers” for me to take to the Herald.
Ironically, these worms love newsprint. (Recycle your favorite newspaper joke here.)
— Eric Degerman is the Herald’s online managing editor who makes regular trips each year from Richland to Clayton-Ward in Kennewick so that he can exchange his household recyclables for money to buy beverages produced from Columbia Valley grapes and hops.
Fall gardening next week.
Thu 6 Oct 2011
Yesterday I posted about corporate recycling and how they have to have plastic containers with labels on them to actually do it. Well here is a thought. Take a felt tipped marker and cross out paper and write organics. That way you are composting at work. If you have no organics other than food scraps you may have to mix in some shredded paper or go out side and collect some leaves. You will need a a tight lid and you may need to store it outside, but everything is possible.
I’ve started a composting process of the food waste at my workplace using a bin that is passively aerated. It’s kind of a prototype, as I am figuring out what kind of mix of inputs will work, how much moisture it needs, etc. During the summer, our kitchen produces a huge amount of food scraps which gets bagged up, thrown into a room, then later heaved up by staff onto our dump truck, driven into town, dumped at the refuse center, where it is then sorted and transported out of the county to a landfill 70 miles away. It’s a ridiculously inefficient process of dealing with waste that generates yet more waste.
The small bin I have currently set up will fill up within a week, so obviously it isn’t anywhere near cutting much waste out. However, once I’ve demonstrated that it works and have figured out the proper mix and all that, I’m hoping that we can expand the operation to cut out a more significant chunk of waste.
The whole science and art of composting consists of a proper ratio of carbon to nitrogen, which ideally should be around 30:1. We have a vast amount of cardboard and newspaper on-hand which I will shred to serve as bulk carbon (further reducing the transport of those materials into the recycling center in town), as well as sawdust and, every now and then, pine needles. The food waste supplies the nitrogen, as well as moisture. I will also pick up horse manure from stables down the road and mix that in there as well to provide essential microbes. It remains to be seen what kind of compost such a mixture will produce—it may be somewhat deficient on nutrients as my main sources of carbon are bland.
Tue 4 Oct 2011
I was at a food meeting yesterday at LLCC and Wes King pointed out that composting and fall crop covers are actually recycling of the ultimate sort. Taking organic matter and letting it turn back into soil and crops that will turned under in the spring are so to speak, nature’s way and direct recycling. This as opposed to taking stuff to a center where they then ship it off to an actual reprocessing plant many miles away. Since it is October what better things to discuss. First up composting at work and yes it can be done.
by Jeannette Belliveau, Demand Media
If you’re already conserving energy, reusing and recycling paper and purchasing green office products at work, the next big step can be composting on the job and using it to green the surrounding landscape. If your office property permits use of the grounds in this manner, you can compost on site, and if it doesn’t, you can still pursue other avenues to keep the compostable food waste from going into the garbage. (See References 1)
Assemble a workplace “Green Team” with committed leaders managing your office compost program (see References 3). Kick things off by publicizing your switch to a three-stream waste system, whereby the office will provide separate receptacles for trash, recycling and compost (see References 1, p. 98). An educational poster or exhibit near the lunch room can explain the program (see References 5). Place sealable containers for compost in your office kitchen, food preparation area or snack room. These can be 13-gallon kitchen waste cans or smaller lidded buckets (see References 3). Employees can add coffee grounds, tea bags, vegetable wastes and eggshells to these bin (see References 1, p. 126). Avoid adding meat and diary waste.
A designated member of the Green Team can collect the food waste daily from the snack room and other collection points and place it in the central container or directly into the composter. It’s better to assign this duty to a Green Team member rather than custodial staff to better keep an eye on what is going into the composter, recommends the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Your office may be able to switch to collecting food waste two to three times a week depending on how much volume you see. (See References 3)
Your composter set-up should match your needs and business aesthetics, recommends Trish Riley and Heather Gadonniex in “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Greening Your Business (see References 1).” Options include a compost tumbler or plastic compost bins and digesters if you have access to garden space and want to avoid the tumbledown look of a loose or fenced compost bin. If you don’t have a yard or grassy area for the compost, you can use an electronic composter that dries and automatically stirs the compost or a worm bin. (See References 2, p. 20)