The Ultimate Frontier – Composting at work

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.



Composting at Work

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.


More tomorrow.


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