Seward Compost Collection
I'm excited to announce that Public Works is exploring setting up the second curbside organics collection program. This one may be in the Seward neighborhood. Last year, they began a similar program in Linden Hills neighborhood, and after some good organizing work by Seward residents - especially Seward Environment Committee Chair Carol Greenwood - the Solid Waste and Recycling department head has indicated that Seward will be next. The Seward Neighborhood Group board has taken a formal position asking for this project, and I have also formally indicated my support.
Under the pilot, Seward residents will be encouraged to separate their organic waste (vegetable trimmings, for instance) from the rest of their garbage. A special bin will be provided. After being picked up, the waste will be composted and reused by agriculture, rather than being incinerated. And not only will organics collection reuse the nutrients from our waste, but the garbage burner in downtown will work much more efficiently and emit less pollution. Good source-separated organics also make possible anaerobic digesters, which create and trap methane that can then be burned as fuel, for heat and electrical generation. There is enormous potential.
The purpose of these pilots, from my perspective, is to create a model for citywide organics collection. My hope is that once we address any challenges that the pilots highlight, we will be able to roll out this program within five years or less.
Once we've got this system going, we can push institutional partners to follow suit. For instance, the University is taking recycling seriously, but could compost a significant portion of its waste as well.
Lastly, I'd be remiss not to mention the tremendous work being done by Eureka Recycling's Make Dirt Not Waste program and some great Second Ward businesses, such as the Birchwood and Seward Cafe, to divert their organic waste to composting facilities. These folks are leaders, who can show the rest of us - the City, residents, and fellow businesses - the way to a more sustainable future.