He takes a sober look at the way the leading cities -- Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco -- have chosen to design their food waste composting programs and says we should do it better.
"First the city gives every household a pricey new plastic rolling tote. They buy additional trucks and hire more people. Those trucks chug up every single lane in the city until they are full, then they drive somewhere far away and dump the organic waste. Large machines pile and re-pile the organics for a few months until it breaks down into compost. They do this two to four times each month, 12 months of the year, for the rest of time...."
This centralized, industrial approach misses a better opportunity, Anderson proposes. He asks us to re-think the idea of a composting system that relies on "a river of oil."
Anderson sees a whole range of systems for managing food waste. Small to large, intensely local, and scaled to fit the purpose, from backyard composting (even in apartment complexes!) to in-house digestion systems at industrial sites.
I think Anderson's got it right. We're starting from scratch with food waste composting and this gives us an opportunity to do it differently, setting a new standard for the 21st Century.
pic: The Cedar Grove centralized composting plant that is the model for a new plant likely to be built by Metro Vancouver at the Langley wastewater treatment plant site. This is where Seattle's food waste is trucked. The plant has firm support from knowledgeable environmentalists in Everett, WA, where a plant has been in operation for several years. It got some bad press this week.