Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cedar Grove Visit – Green Waste to Compost

A pile of finished compost at Cedar Grove facility in Everett Washingon
We both had the opportunity recently to visit the Cedar Grove compost facility in Everett Washington late last month and were impressed. Besides exciting our geek circuitry, it just made us feel good that green waste (organic matter) is being kept out of landfills and being recycled into a useful product – compost.

The facility uses a system called the GORE™ Cover System which so simple and elegant. Basically, incoming green waste is ground up and then put in piles under a cover similar to what is used in GORE-TEX® fabrics. Once covered, air is introduced as needed and the green waste starts breaking down. The covered compost piles can reach temperatures up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit removing pathogens and weed seed. A usable compost can produced in just two months, though in practice compost is aged longer.

Walking around the piles of compost in various stages of completeness you notice non- or not-easily composted items that inadvertently got mixed into the waste. Metal is separated early in the process, but other items like plastic can make it through the process remarkably intact. These items are of course screened out before the compost is bagged. One such item was a pack of father’s day cards pictured below.
Father's Day Cards Don't Break Down So Easily
Cedar Grove Site Plan
Cedar Grove Technology Info

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