A big breakthrough for composting in the Gorge hit our inbox this week. We have been working closely with both Hood River and The Dalles cities on rolling out business composting and this week a pilot was approved by the City of Hood River! The business composting pilot allows any food/floral generating businesses (think offices, restaurants, groceries, catering businesses, coffee shops, hotels, hospitals, floral shops, jails….) to compost their waste instead of sending it to the landfill. Businesses would have separate, clearly-labeled bins for compostables and set them out for collection apart from their trash. The goal is to increase landfill diversion (food scraps in landfills create methane with is 20 times more powerful than C02), reduce the need for trash collection and create nutrient rich soil for gardens, farms and nurseries.
First to jump on board with the new business composting collection service are Riverside Grill (Hood River Best Western), Rosauers, Lucy’s Informal Flowers, Insitu (Waucoma Building), and Turtle Island Foods. At this stage Dirt Hugger is permitted to collect pre-consumer vegetative and floral waste only (see list below for details). Please contact us if you’re interested in getting your business on the composting program.
We have meetings this week with The Dalles City Manager, Nolan Young, and are planning on presenting info to the City Council in the next two meetings. Any and all Dalles supporters (or opposers) are welcome to attend. Beyond that we have hopes of expanding the service across the river to White Salmon and Bingen and ultimately working with the Gorge cities and local haulers on residential curbside composting collection. We are also working with the DEQ to obtain our Type III Feedstock permit, which will allow us to accept all food scrap material (pre and post-consumer).
Data on business composting*
- Businesses are the source of 75% of all landfill waste; Food scraps, food soiled paper and waxed cardboard make up 30% of that amount.
- Hood River County businesses dispose of 6,500 tons/yr of compostable material
- Wasco County businesses dispose of 5,300 tons/yr of compostable material.
What we can + can’t accept at this stage
We have what’s classified as a Type II feedstock permit from the DEQ, which in english means we can accept pre-consumer vegetative and floral waste, but not post-consumer food (i.e. what you throw away at the end of a meal).
- Food prep scraps (peeled fruit, veggies)
- Waxed cardboard (it’s not recyclable)
- Coffee grounds, filters and tea bags
- Food soiled paper (handwashing towels, pizza boxes, paper plates)
- Joe Shehan, for pushing us to get this going
- Bob Francis, Hood River City Manager, Hood River City Council and Attorney
- Hood River Best Western’s green team and kitchen staff
- Rosauers-Mike Shirts, Jim, Carlos, and the produce staff
- Lucy of Lucy’s Informal Flowers
- Jennifer Piatt + Maya Hooper, sustainability coordinators at Insitu
- Jaime Athos of Turtle Island Foods
- Lindsey Maser and Portland Composts!
*Source: Tri-Counties Hazardous Waste and Recycling Organics Management Feasibility Study.