GreenYes Digest V97 #193

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GreenYes Digest Sun, 10 Aug 97 Volume 97 : Issue 193

Today's Topics:
composting box board

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Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 11:55:04 -0500
From: Jim McNelly <>
Subject: composting box board

Melissa Arndt wrote:

> the city of austin is looking at starting a "pilot" collection program
> whereby residential customers will be able to set out box board
> material
> (cereal boxes,shoes boxes) with yard trimmings.
> the yard trimmings and box board material will get composted together.
> currently residential customers are offered weekly yard trimmings pick
> up.
> box board is not accepted in the current curbside recycling program
> due
> to weak market conditions.
> does anyone have information on other cities that are currently doing
> this? any cities that have tried something similar?

Hi Melissa,

The City of Hutchinson, Minnesota is doing something similar using a
NaturTech containerized in-vessel composting system they originally
purchased for composting wastewater treatment biosolids.

First a bit of background. Hutchinson implemented an agressive home
composting program four years ago that was so successful they were able
to eliminate their curbside collection of yard trimmings. This program
involved giving away a home composting bin AND providing a $1.00 per
month subsidy for households that got the bin and went through the two
hour home composting seminar with yours truly, The Compost Man.

Over 30% of the households participated and now residents have to bring
their yard trimmings out to the municipal site or have them hauled by a
private contractor. The City still picks up yard trimmings once in the
spring and twice in the fall for leaves. The City Administrator, Gary
Plotz, 320-587-5151 reports a three year return on investment and that
the avoided cost of collection and reduced volume has already paid for
the program.

The new program the City is implementing this summer is starting with
the City's grocers, two large businesses (Hutchinson Technology and 3M),
the entire school district, and several commercial sites that have
significant volumes of organics. Aside from discarded fruits and
vegetables, the operation will take crates, pallets, sawdust, paper
towels, boxboard, non-recyclable paper, post-consumer lunchroom waste,
coffee grounds, and other various organics.

Next spring the City will test a curbside collection of source separated
organics from one residental route within the City. Given that the yard
trimmings are already diverted, a new collection route is, to an extent,
a step backwards. But the City is evaluating the feedstocks and a
variety of biodegradable bags. Their plan is to implement a single
vehicle multiple-compartment collection system and process the source
separated materials separately. Whether or not this future plan will
include the separate collection of recyclables or not is unknown at this

Residential materials to be collected or evaluated include boxboard,
food scraps, pet litter, disposable diapers, soiled paper and other
organics as they may be identified. This variety of materials will be
possible because the City has invested in an in-vessel containerized
composting system that meets state and EPA pathogen destruction
standards, controls odors, and is containerized to prevent litter and
fugitive dust. Using the City's numbers, capital and operating costs
for composting are less than $30 per ton, competitive with the landfill.

There is a variety of research available regarding source separated
composting from the Compost for Earth's Sake program sponsored in part
by Audubon Society, National Grocers Association, the Composting
Council, and Procter and Gamble.

Jim~ McNelly
NaturTech Composting Systems, Inc. 320-253-6255
44 28th Ave N
Suite J
Saint Cloud MN 56303

Information on Composting and Sustainable Futures
The Humusphere HTTP://


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #193