As reported by WAMU, American University Radio, food waste has been called “the final frontier of recycling,” and now Prince George’s County is reusing food scraps.
The county will use the food waste in soil conditioners and fertilizers, and will reduce the amount of trash going into county landfills.
At the county yard waste composting facility in Upper Marlboro, trees, grass, and leaf trimmings are piled into long lines several football fields long. It resembles the shelves and aisles of a supermarket. That material is composted to make Leaf Gro, a soil conditioner and fertilizer.
But county officials now believe they’ve found a way to make better compost — they will mix food scraps with those yard trimmings, says Adam Ortiz, the county’s head of environmental resources.
“This material with the food composting creates a much higher nutrient value in the material. So, it’s worth a lot more, it’s good for vegetables, and will accelerate growth of plants much more than they typical product,” he says.
Just as important to Ortiz is the fact it takes food scraps out of county landfills. Food waste is close to 20 percent of all trash in Prince George’s County.
Food scraps and yard trim together constitute a significant portion of the municipal solid waste stream, at over 27 percent according to the EPA. While Maryland currently recycles 66.9 percent of the estimated yard trim generated in the state, it only recycles 13.1 percent of the estimated food scraps generated.