WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

 

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Newport: An experiment in what could become “city wide” participation in composting

Composting - as easy as taken the can to the street.

Composting – as easy as taking the food and yard waste can to the street.

Composting can is also collected from local restaurants.

Composting can is also collected from local restaurants.


Raw material shredded and mixed then applied in mounds on top of the ground for "curing."

Raw material shredded and mixed then applied in mounds on top of the ground for “curing.”

The composted materials are stirred and cured.

The composted materials are stirred and cured.

Proper organic heating and composition is tested.

Proper organic heating and composition is tested.

When the composted soil is finished, it's loaded up and headed for a farm, residence or business.

When the composted soil is finished, it’s loaded up and headed for a farm, residence or business.

And as we all know, a composted soil amendment is great for growing again what started the process in the first place!

And as we all know, a composted soil amendment is great for growing again what started the process in the first place!

Thompson Sanitary and Pacific Region Compost told a Newport City Council Town Hall Meeting Monday night that they are teaming up to bring composting. in a very large way, to Central Lincoln County. Thompson Sanitary – the regular trash hauling company – is embarking on a pilot program to test the collection, transporting and the creation of a rich soil amending compost for growing anything in Oregon. Not only that, they figure they’ll save the average resident and business owner money in the process – both in the short and long run.

Here’s how it works. If it grows – IT GOES! Composting materials include food waste, food soiled paper, cardboard, towels, paper plates, milk cartons, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, wooden crates, saw dust, flower and tree trimmings, leaves, grass, brush and weeds. It all goes into the COMPOST trash container. You take it to the street just like your regular trash. Other trash stays with the regular trash – like plastic bags, wraps and straws, styrofoam, bottles, cans, aluminum foil and your average household liquids.

Although it would stand to reason that because you’re taking another trash cart to the street that your monthly trash bill would go up. Yes and no…but mostly no, according to Thompson Sanitary. That’s because instead of needing to use a 65 gallon cart to carry your trash to the street, you’ll only need a 35 gallon cart. That saves you $13 a month. With the compost cart running you $6.59 a month you pocket the nearly six dollar a month savings. And you’re participating in composting! And what’s more, you’re less likely to pay an extra three to five dollars per incident when you’ve overstuffed your cart or left additional bags of trash next to it on the street. So for many households, that’s another ten bucks a month or so of savings.

And when you’re composting you’re recycling up to 40% of what would normally be filling up the regional landfill north of Corvallis, Coffin Butte, where all of our local garbage and trash ends up. Landfills are expensive to run and when they’re full, they’re expensive to seal and to maintain while also monitoring what’s going on with it so it doesn’t leak.

Thompson officials say for every day that Coffin Butte doesn’t reach capacity and closes down, is another day of receiving trash from the region. You’re not paying the closing charges and monitoring costs as well as the cost of opening up a NEW landfill.

Thompson says they’re working closely with their partner in all this, Pacific Region Compost that is perfecting a “recipe” that will make our local garbage produce high grade compost that can be sold to farmers, nurseries, residents and business owners.

To start the pilot program, Thompson says they are enlisting the participation of up to 15 Newport area restaurants that produce a lot of food waste, and most restaurants do. If those restaurants can get more of their waste stream going into compost, it’s less material that goes into Coffin Butte. And that will save them money.

The experiment with the restaurants is expected to begin sometime next Spring. Thompson says they’ll fine tune the mix and blend of composting materials so they can figure out how to optimize the formula. Once that’s nailed down they say it would be time for the Newport City Council and the Lincoln County County Commission to decide if they want to launch the program for everyone else in the Thompson Sanitary collection area – mainly the coastal area of central Lincoln County.

If that process is begun, and it proves workable, the city council and the county board of commissioners would hold public meetings on it with ample time for public input. Those meetings could be many months away, according to Thompson Sanitary officials.

We got this letter of protest from a reader who makes some compelling points.

What percentage of residential users already use the smallest trash container? Everyone in my neighborhood does. Anyone with a backyard or who wants to buy a worm composting bin can compost their non-meat/non-fat food waste. I already do.

Thompson’s proposed change won’t save me any money. The only thing that would would be if they would agree to every other week or once a week trash pickup–which I’ve asked for several times and Thompson refuses to offer. Unless you terminate regular curb service

This is nothing more then a backdoor rate increase and a subsidy of restaurants and any other business with lots of food waste that the business has failed to deal with by contracting with a local chicken or pig farmer. Both are excellent ways of disposing of food waste and perhaps decrease the food costs of the farmer. Supposedly the community is so big on “community” so why isn’t the possibility of restaurants decreasing their food waste via farmers or growers who would like the extra compost material being explored?

As I understand Thompson’s plan, it is not to compost locally and then offer the compost to the city (parks, public works, etc.) and the public at cost or for free (it should really be for free if rates are increased to pay for it). It is being taken elsewhere, composted elsewhere and then SOLD to make a profit for the composter. All that that Newport customers get to do is (1) subsidize a profit making enterprise by donating their food waste and paying for it to be taken away after the customer has taken the time (which is worth money, no?) to keep it separate and (2) someone else gets paid for the resulting compost.

It’d be better if more people took the OSU extension course on master composting and improved their own soil and did something with it other then grow grass. Or whatever short shrubs are approved by the landscaping enforcers of Newport.

— Eddy Deco
Newport, OR

Editor’s note:

Mr. Deco has a very valid point. We noticed he made no mention of the cost of filling a landfill, the expense of closing it and creating a new one. That aside, his analysis begs a wider analysis of what to do with waste in general. Rather than stumbling along, one step at a time in dealing with a societal challenge, we need to examine the “cradle to the grave,” or more correctly, “store to the landfill” process of solid waste without putting undue financial pressure on retired and low income citizens. I’m sure this and many other insightful viewpoints will be heard during upcoming public hearings before the Newport City Council and the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners.

Anyone else want to comment: Sent your thoughts to: Dave@NewsLincolnCounty.com

This from “Ordinary Guy”

I’m with Eddy. I suppose I could separate my trash (again) to help the environment, but I’m not real big on paying an extra $7 a month to help someone make more profit.There will probably be a deposit on the new bin too. Recycling is big business, but it never seems to cost us consumers any less for our effort.

 

 

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