Re: FW: [GRRN] seeking info on commercial wet/dry programs

Eric Lombardi (
Thu, 29 Jul 1999 12:31:54 -0600

Hi Stephen,

I've been thinking that the solution to this "third
stream" was to just develop a wet side process that
could handle and remove the stuff that needs to be
landfilled. Thus, the collection system is two-steam,
but out of the processing comes three streams ...
recycle, compost and landfill. Of course, there are
also non-recyclable items sorted out of the dry side

Does anyone know anyone working on creating a
compost system which can tolerate a "dirty" stream of
material, which in this case means a lot of non-compostable
material that needs to screened, or whatever, out?

Also, did you ever write up your research? I'd love to
see it!


At 07:52 AM 7/29/99 -0700, Stephen Grealy wrote:
>David, Vikky et al
>Hi David - this is Stephen Grealy form San Diego.
>Good discussion... I agree that wet/dry is the way to go. However, from
research I did in 1995-96 on wet dry programs in Nth America and Europe I
came away convinced that you still need a three stream collection system.
Removing the trash option means you are either downgrading your compost or
your recyclables (with all the negative market implications that we don't
need) and you also lose the option of placing a heavier financial
disincnetive on buying commodites that aren't recyclable or compostable.
>Although we probably all agree that source reduction is the best way to go
it really isn't practical yet for a great variety of commodities (eg window
glass and carpet - although commercial leasing/recycling options do now
exist for the latter as you are probably aware).
>As a personal example, I have a two year old and we started out with the
best of intentions with a diaper service, spent quite a lot of money on all
the eco-diaper choices out there and found we still had to revert to
disposable diapers for specific situations.
>I am very interested in the pilots currently being conducted up your way
and look forward to more talk on this topic.
>>>> "Krueger, David" <> 07/23 2:34 PM >>>
>To: Eric Lombardi
>From: David Krueger
>Re: Wet / Dry
>Eric, you're not crazy. Wet/dry is definitely worth pursuing. Let's
>discuss further.
> ----------
>From: Krueger, David
>To: 'SMTP:'
>Subject: RE: [GRRN] seeking info on commercial wet/dry programs
>Date: Wednesday, July 21, 1999 5:28PM
>Vikky -
>I am very interested in wet/dry systems. I have been advocating this
>approach in San Jose for years. The best place to study wet/dry as far as I
>know is the City of Guelph in Ontario Province, Canada. Guelph acheived a
>58% diversion rate in 1997. You can contact the Guelph Wet-Dry Recycling
>Centre at (519) 767-0598. I gave Barbara Bernardini of SF copies of all of
>the wet/dry information that I have.
> I think that with a Wet/Dry system for both commercial and residential, San
>Jose could achieve 65%-75% diversion (we have more yard trimmings than
>Guelph due to a year-round growing season.) San Jose has a population of
>The key to the wet/dry system seems to be having a reliable and economical
>composting system for the "wet" portion. We are performing two pilot
>programs this year in San Jose that should move us in that direction.
>Both pilots are for composting commercial food waste.
>The Newby Island landfill (BFI) in North San Jose is going to compost food
>waste using two different systems: The in-vessel Comptainer system from
>Green Mountain Technologies and an open aerated static pile system. The
>Z-Best composting facility in Gilroy will be composting commercial food
>waste from San Jose using the in-vessel Ag-Bag system. Both companies are
>going to start out composting produce waste from grocery stores, but then
>experiment with other feedstocks. Z-Best and its sister company, GreenWaste
>Recovery hope to expand on their pilot and develop a front-loader route
>collecting organics such as food waste, yard trimmings, waxed corrugated
>cardboard, and non-recyclable paper from grocery stores, restaurants,
>landscapers, florists and other San Jose businesses with significant amounts
>of "wet" compostable waste.
>On the "Dry" side, one of our local haulers, GT Waste Systems, is currently
>doing a pilot commercial program for us. They are using selective routing
>to collect all "dry" waste in the same truck, and then sorting out the dry
>waste at their MRF. The customers aren't asked to separate wet from dry.
>Instead, only those customers with inherently "dry" waste streams are
>collected on the targeted route. It is invisible to the customer. So far
>the recovery hasn't been that great, maybe 30%. Some of this is due to
>oddities in the waste stream: The last load GTWaste sorted contained a
>large amount of glass windows and carpeting. As we get more data, I'll
>gladly share it with you.
>The impetus behind both of these programs is "tax breaks". San Jose
>charges commercial franchise fees based on the volume of garbage service
>provided to businesses. We do not charge these fees on recyclables. We are
>going to waive the fees on organics collected for composting. We may also
>waive the fees on "dry" waste that is taken to a MRF, provided that a
>significant portion of the waste is recovered. Material that is recycled or
>composted also avoids a $13 per ton tax at San Jose landfills. We have an
>open-market system for commercial hauling in San Jose.
>San Jose has a really cheap tip fee for disposal of residential waste at the
>Newby Island landfill. I think the main stumbling block to residential
>wet/dry collection here is that composting the "wet" portion may prove to be
>more expensive than landfilling it.
>I am very impressed with San Francisco's "Fantastic Three" pilot that
>collects recyclables/garbage/organics (including food waste, yard trimmings,
>and non-recyclable paper.) It's the closest thing to wet/dry I've seen in
>the U.S. Do you have any plans to pilot a two-stream program?
>Eric Lombardi is not the only "seeker" out there. I too have wondered why
>this hasn't caught on outside of Ontario Provence.
>David Krueger
>(408) 277-5533
> ----------
>From: Lacaze, Skip
>To: Krueger, David
>Subject: FW: [GRRN] seeking info on commercial wet/dry programs
>Date: Wednesday, July 21, 1999 1:46PM
> ----------
>From: Eric Lombardi <
>Subject: Re: [GRRN] seeking info on commercial wet/dry programs
>Date: Wednesday, July 21, 1999 12:37PM
>Greetings Vikky and everybody else,
>I have been researching wet/dry for years. Not real
>hard, mind you, but pretty consistently ... and my
>interest continues to grow. And every once in a while
>I run across another "seeker" like Vikky here, and I
>tell them what I know, then they disappear.
>Why? Wet/Dry looks so damn good on paper, why isn't it
>taking the world by storm?
>I would like to start a small email dialogue with this
>group about wet/dry.... I recognize some of your names,
>and this is a great brain-trust to start with.
>Also, Vikky, you should call me (303) 444-6634, and we
>can talk about how far you've gotten in researching...
>and what your goals are here.
>Well anyone, are Vikky and I crazy for pursuing this?
>Eric Lombardi
>BOulder, CO.
>At 09:24 AM 7/21/99, wrote:
>> I'm looking for information on commercial commingled (wet/dry)
>> recycling programs in medium to large cities (populations over
>> 200,000). If anyone out there knows of any programs fitting this
>> description, please email me. I'm especially interested in their
>> cost/workability/diversion attained, etc.
>> Thanks!
>> Vikky McArthur
>> San Francisco Recycling Program
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