Commercial Composters Put New, Odorless Spin on an Old-Fashioned Practice

A shocking 40% of food produced in the U.S. never gets eaten, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (PDF). That means we’re casually throwing out a quarter of the fresh water we consume and 4% of the oil we burn, according to the organization. To add insult to injury, because of the methane released during anaerobic digestion, 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from organic waste in landfills, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes. (Methane is 20 times more potent in the atmosphere over a 100-year period than carbon dioxide.)

Greater awareness of these issues—and new laws regarding food waste—have led to “an uptick in interest” in onsite composting for commercial buildings, says Vance Calvez, sales and marketing director at Green Mountain Technologies. The company, based in Bainbridge Island, Washington, manufactures several types of commercial-scale in-vessel composters—enclosed environments that encourage high-heat aerobic digestion of organics—and provides consulting services for onsite composting in both rural and urban settings throughout North America.


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