Composting in Ohio 2011: A Tour of the Industry - Dr. Michel, Dr. Keener and Mary Wicks

Summary:  This 1-day program provides participants with an opportunity to visit commercial scale composting facilities and other organic resource recovery operations to learn about real-world best practices for materials handling and processing.

Situation:  Ohio has over 400 registered composting facilities, which play a key role in the re-use of organic resources. Although the majority of these facilities accept only yard wastes, the Ohio EPA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources have initiated programs to encourage the composting of food scraps as an alternative to landfilling.  Compost facility operators, and the public agency personnel who interact with them, need to understand how different organic waste streams should be handled to minimize risks of runoff and odors.

Response:   Since 1999, OCAMM and FABE have offered a summer tour featuring facilities and farms that demonstrate best practices for organics recycling.  In 2011, OCAMM and FABE collaborated with the Organics Recycling Association of Ohio to identify three sites: (1) Medina County MSW Processing Complex, Ohio’s only Class I composting facility; (2) Baldwin Wallace College, a Class II facility utilizing a small in-vessel system for composting cafeteria food scraps and campus yard wastes; and (3) Rosby Resource Recycling, a Class II facility that composts food scraps from grocers and restaurants in the Cleveland metropolitan area.

Impact:  For 2011, the 40 participants represented the compost industry (33%); public agencies (40%); and educational institutions (7%). Participants scored the sites from 3.6 to 4.6, out of a possible 5, for relevance and usefulness of information provided.